'Sign of the times' as Brixham food bank expands
BRIXHAM's food bank is expanding its service so more food destined to be landfill waste can help families a 'bill away from crisis'.
Torbay Food Bank has teamed up with Devon and Cornwall Food Association to create a food hub.
The aim of the hub is to centralise food which would otherwise have been thrown away so it can be redirected to families in need.
Food bank founder Sarah Ready said fridges and freezers had been donated to the charity so it can now store and give frozen food. She said she had received offers of frozen fish from the fishing industry.
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Mrs Ready said although it was good to be able to offer a greater service, the demand for food parcels was sadly growing in the port.
She said: "We're getting more people coming forward because the word that we are here has got around.
"But I think we will see an increase in numbers by April next year when the money available through the Government will no longer become available. When the Social Fund, Community Care Grant and Community Loans are done away with, a lot of people will suffer."
The cash will be filtered through local authorities, but Mrs Ready believes hard-pressed families in Brixham will not receive as much and many more will ask for food parcels.
She added: "People on the breadline are having to make cuts. They're cutting on food, school shoes and uniforms. It's right across the board.
"With child poverty in Torbay among the highest in the country (24 per cent) it will only get worse, which is why it is important to keep the food bank up and running.
"When you look at the Bay you see the lovely hotels, but behind the veneer it is quite bad for people.
"The success of the food bank is a sad reflection of how bad things have become for many families."
Mrs Ready said donations have been pouring in for the last few weeks following an appeal by the Torbay Food Bank and its counterpart in Paignton, Anode, which said due to increased demand for food, the reserves were running low.
Following the appeal for help, thousands of items of food have been donated to the charities and redelivered to those in need.
The appeal for food donations came as the calls for aid have risen from 75 to more than 2,000 in the past 12 months in Paignton and increased from a few families a week when the bank started to 20 to 25 families a week less than a month later.
Mrs Ready said not only people on benefits have been increasingly coming to Torbay Food Bank, but people who work and families and older people who are 'one bill away from crisis'.