Preston food bank depleted as cost-of-living crisis worsens
published on 5 Apr 2022
Preston food bank depleted as cost-of-living crisis worsens.
Our Preston Corps is appealing for support in stocking the shelves of its near-empty food bank.
To donate food to the food bank drop off points, go to:
- Morrisons at Preston Riverway
- Sainsbury’s at Preston Deepdale
- Our church and community centre on Harrington Street.
Facing the pressure of the impending rise on the cost of living, as the energy price cap increases, Our Preston Corps is preparing for a rise in the number of people using its food bank which is already working to support more than 150 people each month.
The first three months of this year saw the corps, located on Harrington Street in Preston, pack and provide a massive 2,235* food parcels to a staggering 499* referrals within the Preston community. Our Preston Corps is using financial donations to fully stock the food bank each week in order to meet the demand as food donations have slumped and requests continue to soar.
Captain Debbie Eaton, joint leader of The Salvation Army in Preston said: “People’s shopping habits have changed, a lot is done online now so less impulse buying, and as the cost of living continues to dramatically increase, we have seen a significant drop in food bank donations.
“We’re seeing a month on month increase of requests and a steady increase from monthly numbers last year, but sadly a decrease in donations. People have tough choices to make; do you donate to a food bank or choose to continue to feed your family.”
Open five days a week, Monday – Friday, from 9:00 am until 1:00 pm, the foodbank works on three referrals per person per year, or one a month, making the quarterly figures even more overwhelming. The Salvation Army works with referrals from the likes of Citizens Advice, local schools, health visitors and doctors.
In previous years in the months after Christmas, the corps is usually inundated with items which are used to fill the shelves, but this year the demand is quickly overtaking the amount of stock on the shelves. One day in February saw 80 food parcel bags packaged and distributed in the four hours the foodbank was open.
In total our Preston Corps sees individuals, couples and families attend its food bank with the amount of food parcels given varying. A bag can include items such as tinned vegetables, fruit, pasta and sauce in a jar as well as toilet roll, coffee, biscuits and toiletries. An individual can get two main bags and a bag of extras, whist a couple will expect to receive three bags and a bag of extras. A family gets a more tailored parcel, dependent on the age of children with parcels including nappies and formula if necessary.
Captain Eaton continued: “There is no typical template of who uses a foodbank. We’re seeing more and more people that are in stable jobs needing our support. Once you’ve hit your maximum food budget and you get an unexpected bill, like a car’s MOT or a medical expense, that you haven’t budgeted for, it’s very easy to quickly slip into needing a helping hand.
“There’s only so many cuts you can make and, once you reach your limit, anyone and everyone could be in need, and that is what is actually quite scary.”
The Preston Corps also has a Just Giving page. Whilst all donations are welcome people are encouraged to donate only what they can afford.
*Figures total the following: January – 797 bags, 175 referrals, February – 687 bags, 157 referrals, March – 751 bags, 167 referrals.