Worcester Foodbank has praised the extraordinary festive goodwill of local people which helped it to feed a record number of people in the run up to Christmas.
Low income (403), benefit payment issues (304) and debt (141) were the main reasons more than 940 people were forced to rely on the city’s foodbank during December – up 22 per cent on the same period last year.
But it wasn’t just empty stomachs that the charity was busy filling. A record 418 disadvantaged children also woke up on Christmas Day to discover a stocking filled with surprises and a gift-wrapped new toy.
It was made possible by a remarkable outpouring of generosity from local people who donated 21.6 tonnes of food during December, as well as hundreds of new gifts for children aged from 0 to 18 years old.
Grahame Lucas, Worcester Foodbank Manager, said: “It’s nothing short of a miracle that we’ve been able to support a record number of people this Christmas – we’re so grateful to our volunteers and the huge number of people who have donated food and toys.”
“At the same time it’s a massive concern to us that we’ve had such a busy end to the year, especially as we’ve yet to see the full impact of Universal Credit in Worcester. It suggests 2019 could take us into uncharted territory.”
The full rollout of Universal Credit began in Worcester in October and the charity has warned that it could trigger a similar explosion in foodbank use already seen in other parts of the country.
It has warned that it may have to find an additional 30,000 meals over the next 12 months to cope with the increase in people coming through its doors.