Foodbank faces ‘busiest ever day’ as pensioner lives on nothing but cereal

Colchester foodbank faced its busiest day ever on April 15 as demand continues to rise during the co

Colchester foodbank faced its busiest day ever on April 15 as demand continues to rise during the coronavirus crisis Picture: COLCHESTER FOODBANK - Credit: COLCHESTER FOODBANK

A foodbank has faced its busiest day on record as young families are being ‘plunged’ into poverty during the coronavirus crisis.

After experiencing a 300% increase in demand in March, April 15 saw the foodbank stretched like it never had before – while its phone continues rings “almost non-stop” during the pandemic.

Among those needing help are young families, with more than 46% of people requiring its help being children, while one person admitted they “never imagined” they would go from being someone donating to someone using the service. MORE: Follow all of our coronavirus news coverage here

But despite the hardships, chief officer Mike Beckett said spirits remain high among the volunteers working tirelessly to help those in need.

Mr Beckett said: “We are particularly concerned to offer additional support to families in poverty, to help families stay together and to keep their head above water when they are really struggling.

“One client, over 70, had been living on cereal until it had almost run out. A young mum found herself with nothing to feed her children, all home from school – not only did we supply emergency food but Easter eggs for her little ones too.

“We are seeing a number of people plunged into poverty by the fallout of this pandemic.” MORE: Join our Facebook group for the latest Suffolk coronavirus news

Among the items the foodbank needs are tinned goods, rice, potatoes, pasta, juices, toiletries, nappies and washing powder.

In a bid to keep morale high, volunteers wrote their own “Sweet Quarantine” song in the style of Neil Diamond, while remaining committed to helping the local community.

MORE: Watch as foodbank volunteers recreate Neil Diamond hit

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Mr Beckett added: “Despite understandable anxiety and lots of precautions, volunteers are staying strong and keeping on because we recognise how vital it is to keep people healthy and well enough to fight off illness and emerge strong at the end of lockdown.

“With some foodbanks reporting up to 1000% increase in demand, we have trained additional volunteers and secured additional space to better cope with the new reality we find ourselves in.

“We hope for only a short economic downturn due to the pandemic and expect demand for the foodbank for the next 18 months to likely remain high.”

Those who wish to donate can do so by dropping off goods at 33 Moorside Business Park in Colchester, at Supermarket collection points, or giving money via their website.

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