RESOURCES at The Gate Foodbank have become stretched, as demand for its help soars.

The crisis service has been faced with preparing 100 parcels over the last couple of weeks – giving out double the quantity of food it has received.

The Gate, which would distribute around 58 a month back in 2013, is having to cut down on the items being supplied as the number of requests rise.

Adrienne Hilton, Foodbank co-ordinator, said: “What we’ve found is since the New Year, it’s increased in January and February which we would expect it to.

“March they went down slightly but that was because we had Easter, so we were closed, as were places that would make referrals.

“What we found in April is that we are consistently above 40 per week and the last two weeks we’ve hit 50 per week.”

Around 60 per cent of those in need of assistance are single people and 40 per cent families, defined as two people or more.

Adrienne said: “We are putting out double the quantity in weight of food than we’re getting in.

“The last two weeks, we’ve put out half a tonne of food, and we’d be lucky to get 200kg in.

“So we are probably down, per month at the moment, stocks are down at least a tonne a month and this is the lean area when we don’t get the quantity of goods in."

The charity is appealing for donations but, without extra stock, will have to make a few changes.

Adrienne said: “What we are doing is we’re having to cut down on the items that (are) included, we’ve no longer got a variety, we can only put out a few items.

“We can also prioritise to ensure that families, children, receive a balanced food parcel.”

Adrienne says they are experiencing the same challenges as are being faced at a UK-wide level.

They are finding people are not managing to buy basic things like food, toiletries and household cleaning items.

And, increasingly, the reason given for referrals to The Gate is poverty – 50 per cent of those it helps.

But, as a crisis foodbank, it doesn't want people to become dependent on it for living.

The concern is that if there is not a balance between what is coming in and going out, parcels may only be able to support people for two to three days, instead of five.

Adrienne said: “We are desperately short of tinned meat, tinned veg, tinned fruit and tinned fish.

“They are all considered to be basic necessities, rather than anything else.

“We are prioritising to make sure that family food parcels have a balance.

“What we find is the stocks that we’ve got, they are at the same sort of level as they were this time last year coming in – we’re probably getting at least a tonne a month in.

“But it comes in week-by-week so the levels never go up because they come in and then go out.

“We’ve also got toiletries that we are finding are increasingly required or requested.”

Anyone who would like to donate much-needed items (tins of fish, meat, fruit and vegetables) can do so by dropping them off at the foodbank, putting items in the trollies at main supermarkets in the area, or through organising their own collections.

Adrienne said: “The local area always responds to the needs when we put out appeals.

"We wouldn’t be able to provide crisis assistance without the generosity of the local area.”