Sheffield food bank use up more than 1,000 per cent since lockdown

Foodbank volunteers have said the number of people using their service is up more than 1,000 per cent since lockdown began.

Wednesday, 13th May 2020, 2:21 pm
Updated Wednesday, 13th May 2020, 3:34 pm

Andru Keel, of Arbourthorne’s Spires Foodbank, said they used to serve about 30 people a week, but now serve more than 360 people.

He said: “Here at Spires we want to always have a smile on our face, but it is a tough situation and we have families come in that are reliant upon free school meals and things like that and because kids aren't in school there isn't that.

“So we have a lot of families who are all at home now and eating more. The cost mounts up really quickly and some people aren't working, so trying to make it work is difficult.

Food bank

“We have a socially distanced area in the car park and no-one comes into the centre except for volunteers working there, but even in that socially distanced area, there is community and that is helpful for people who may not be seeing anybody, or who are stuck at home.”

Mr Keel said there has been a rise in donations too, including a weekly delivery from Sheffield Council.

He urged anyone in need to come along and said the only questions asked are your first name and how many people are in your family.

Coun Ben Miskell, Sheffield Council member for Park and Arbourthorne, said many foodbanks were seeing similarly huge increases.

At S2 Foodbank, they fed 1,970 people in April alone with 15 tonnes of food, compared with 1,021 people and seven tonnes of food across all of January, February and March.

Coun Miskell said: “It’s astounding. It’s gone up significantly and probably gone up again since April.

“I think a lot of it is because people are applying for Universal Credit, but their payments have been delayed, people have lost their jobs or face financial instability and kids are not in school. Many people are able to access school meals for £15 which is great, but it doesn’t go very far, so I think a lot of people have been struggling.”

If you are in need or want to donate, find your nearest Sheffield foodbank via sheffieldfoodbank.org.uk/food-bank-list

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