Around one in every 35 people in St Helens has been forced to seek help from the borough’s Foodbank, annual figures from the charity reveal.
Foodbank bosses say they’ve handed out food parcels to 5,000 people since opening their doors just 17 months ago.
In total, the charity says food parcels it has distributed weight in at 40,000kg.
The startling figures bring into sharp focus the effect Britain’s faltering economy is having in St Helens.
And Janice Macleod, who runs the borough’s foodbank, said many of those who seek help at the organisation have been impacted by changes to the welfare system.
She said: “One gentleman who lives on his own found his benefits appeal was denied and had to re-claim for a different benefit but was left without any recourse to food when there was a gap between the two claims.
“He was able to survive due to the fact a frontline agency referred.”
St Helens Foodbank was set up the Trussel Trust in November 2012.
Run by a just 40 volunteers, it provides food parcels for desperate folk who, because of their financial circumstances, are unable to feed themselves.
“The welfare reforms have also led some residents to reach out for support and they have needed a volunteer to shift in circumstances.
“Each individual or family is provided with a voucher by one of the 60 plus agencies within the town who give out vouchers to those service users why they support.
“Volunteers at the hubs are trained to welcome services users and chat to them about the issues they face in order to signpost them to the relevant help if needed.”
g To help the St Helens foodbank or donate food packages, call 01744 261414.