A SUDDEN rise in demand for food packages has left Hayle Foodbank struggling for supplies in the run-up to Christmas with more working families calling in for help.
Volunteers working at the service say that they have come across families where parents are going without food to ensure that their children can still eat.
In the past couple of months the foodbank, which is run from Hayle Methodist Church, has seen an increase of 200 per cent in its services.
The biggest single rise was at the beginning of November when the number of people in need of food parcels doubled in a single week, from 20 to more than 40.
Hayle mayor, Jayne Ninnes, who volunteers at the foodbank said the majority of clients that come to the centre are in employment but still struggle to make ends meet.
"A lady two weeks ago described to me how she made a meal in the evening of a baked potato and beans for her daughter. This was the last food she had in the house, her wages would not be paid for another four days and she knew there was no food in the house for breakfast.
"She herself did not eat," said Mrs Ninnes.
"Luckily, the next day, her health visitor told her about the foodbank, so she and her daughter were able to eat. The lady works as many hours as she can get while her child is in school, but her employer has just cut her hours from 24 to 12 – her rent and heating take up nearly all of her income."
For the first time this year, foodbank volunteers had to do a shopping trip, as supplies of much-needed staple foods could not meet the demand.
Mrs Ninnes said the foodbank was preparing for demand to continue to rise over the next few weeks.
She added: "We have seen an upsurge in use as people begin to need to heat their homes more. As the colder weather comes, more and more people go into fuel poverty and are choosing between heating and eating.
"We have also had an upsurge in those who were in temporary seasonal work who are now job-seeking again. The two issues combined have led to an increase in demand for the foodbank.
"The majority of foodbank users are in work but receiving very low pay. Many would love more hours but their employers simply cannot offer more hours in the current economic climate. It is very sad that people do need to use foodbanks to feed their families."
Throughout the year the foodbank, which relies on voluntary donations, has fed around 1,500 people.
The foodbank was recently supported by chef Sanjay Kumar, who helped create a recipe book for users to get the most out of donated items.
Mrs Ninnes said she hoped the booklets would also help people to donate items which could be of most use for clients.
Items particularly sought include tinned meats and vegetables. Special Christmas boxes are currently being put together for which donations are being accepted at Hayle Co-op or through a local church.
For more details visit www.haylefoodbank.co.uk