Demand soars at Kingswood food bank
DEMAND for food from Kingswood Foodbank has soared by 92 per cent due to Covid.
Despite the country slowly coming out of lockdown, the number of people referred to the food bank in Waters Road continues to go up.
In just one week last month 113 people were helped with food and home essentials, leaving shelves almost bare.
Pete Shears, who has volunteered at the Kingswood food bank since it opened in 2013 said demand had gone up every year. The past year had seen the biggest increase in customers as the effects of Covid hit.
He said: “Although it’s only the start of the year, we’ve already had two of our busiest weeks on record so far this calendar year.
“We never know when the fluctuations are going to come because people given vouchers can collect from any food bank even if it’s not their nearest one.
“Even now some people think there’s a stigma in going to a food bank, so come to ours even though they live closer to another one so that nobody they know sees them.
“We have concerns that there could still be worse to come when furlough ends later this year and there might be a lot of job losses.”
The foodbank is part of the Trussell Trust network, the biggest network of foodbanks in the UK, and is linked to other foodbanks across Bristol.
It relies on donations from members of the public, as well as businesses, shops and churches.
Pete is one of three unpaid volunteers who have manned the food bank on Tuesdays
and Fridays since its inception, as well as going around local shops including Tesco and Lidl to collect donations of food such as bread.
He said: “I do it because I am retired and because I am a regular church goer and helping here is a Christian thing to do.
“The people of Kingswood really are fantastic with their donations. We post on our Facebook page whatever we’re running low on something, and within days people will
have brought in what we need and we’re fully stocked again.”
The food bank often runs out of cereals, tinned meat and tinned vegetables so is always looking for more donations of those foods. It is also currently appealing for donations of Easter eggs. Collection points and current shortages are listed on the Kingswood Foodbank Facebook page.