A YOUNG mum has praised the lifesaving work of Cirencester Foodbank after an urgent call for donations.
The mother-of-three – who was speaking this week after the charity released its latest Food Poverty Report – said she would be ‘forever grateful’ for the service it provides.
A launch reception held at the Ingleside Pavilion in Cirencester last Tuesday heard how the charity has seen a steady rise in those needing help.
Clients range from NHS workers and young mums to pensioners as the cost-of-living crisis starts to bite.
Anton Wynn, head of Cirencester Foodbank, said: “The issue of food poverty in this area has never been more prominent than it is right now.
“The global pandemic, followed by the war in the Ukraine and rising costs in food, fuel and energy has created a perfect storm which impacts everyone.”
Just under 4,500 parcels with three days worth of food were distributed by the charity in the year to March.
Latest figurers also reveal a marked increase in demand since the pandemic began – with the need in March this year being 13 per cent higher than the same month in 2019.
The young mum who spoke out to highlight the charity’s work said she was ’embarrassed’ to ask for help at first.
“Every parent’s worst nightmare is not being able to provide for their family,” said the woman, who lives in Cirencester but asked not to be named.
“I was ashamed to needed to use the foodbank.”
The woman – who has three young children, the youngest being one year’s old – has used the foodbank since January this year.
She explained how fleeing an abusive ex-partner resulted in her becoming bankrupt.
“At first I was nervous and embarrassed knowing that as a parent I had to ask for help to provide for my family,” she said.
After using every item of food she could find in her cupboards she was eventually directed to the foodbank by her children’s school.
“Now my children are getting a good healthy hot meal every week. It is a blessing in relief,” she said.
“You don’t realise how much children eat until you haven’t got much of it.”
Food poverty disproportionately affects families with children aged 16 and under who receive half of the emergency food parcels given by the centre.
Almost three-quarters of the food was given to children in primary school or younger.
Volunteers say they have seen a decrease in donations of higher-priced items because of the high cost of living.
Mr Wynn issued an urgent appeal for support.
“We rely on the goodwill of the public to ensure we can continue to support those most in need, and want to say a huge thank you to all who generously donate,” he said.
“These are essential items that ensure households in need can have a healthy, balanced diet and are able to keep themselves clean and healthy.”
The foodbank operated from three centres in Cirencester, Fairford and Tetbury.
These items are most needed by Cirencester Foodbank:
Baby wash / shampoo
Long life concentrated juice (orange/ apple)
Long life sponge pudding
Size six nappies
Tinned carrots, peas and mixed vegetables
Washing up liquid
You can drop off donations at these collection points:
Tesco Extra, Kingsmeadow, Cirencester
Co-op Food & Petrol, Burford Road, Harebushes, Cirencester
Co-op Food, Lechlade
Cirencester Foodbank warehouse
Cirencester Baptist Church
St Mary’s Church, Bibury
Arlington Baptist Church, Bibury
St Mary’s Church, Fairford
Cirencester Baptist Church