St Helens Foodbank is appealing for donations of non-perishable food after seeing an increase in people in crisis over the winter period.
There was a sharp rise in demand in November, with 712 people being fed through the foodbank compared to 409 people the year before.
The service relies on donations to be able to provide three days of food to people in crisis.
Working with care professionals to identify those in need, they provide short-term relief and support as well as signposting people to organisations able to help solve longer-term problems.
Janice Macleod, the foodbank's team leader, and projects director Angela Metcalfe were invited to St Helens Town Hall to collect bags of food, which were donated by council leader Derek Long on behalf of the council to get the appeal up and running.
Coun Pat Ireland, Mayor of St Helens, said: “During my time as Mayor of St Helens I’ve had the privilege of meeting some incredibly heroic and inspirational people. Janice and Angela certainly rank high for their selfless work they do for the borough’s most vulnerable.
“It’s the year 2019 and we shouldn’t be in positions like this in the first place, but I’m hopeful that on hearing about this appeal, the good people of St Helens – who are renowned for coming together in times of crisis to look after their own – will give what they can to help relieve pressures on demand for this service.”
Ms Macleod said: “The people of St Helens are so generous and have supported us faithfully since we opened our doors in 2012, but since October last year we have seen a significant increase of people in crisis attending foodbank and obviously this has had an impact on our food stocks.”
Coun Long said: “It is a very sad situation that sees people in our country needing to use foodbanks just to get by. After the roll-out of universal credit to St Helens there was always a risk that there would be an increase in foodbank use and this appeal shows how damaging that national policy is. I urge anyone who can help to do as much as they can to support this appeal.”
The foodbank desperately needs: UHT milk, orange juice (long-life), instant coffee, tinned fruit, tinned meat, tinned tomatoes, tinned fish, tinned rice pudding/custard, tinned potatoes/instant mash, sugar (500g), packet savoury rice, packet pasta in sauce, packet instant noodles, biscuits, long grain rice, dried pasta and jam.
Donations can be made at collection points at: Tesco Extra, St Helens Linkway; Asda, Kirkland Street; Morrisons, Boundary Road; Cross Lane United Church, 11 Cross Lane, Newton-Le-Willows; Newton Family Community Centre, Park Road South; and any St Helens library.
For more information, visit www.sthelens.foodbank.org.uk.