Cash-strapped food bank needs thousands of pounds by year’s end - or families could go hungry at Christmas

A cash-strapped food bank has warned that several families could go hungry this Christmas if its coffers do not receive a much-needed boost.

Aynsley Jones, manager of Axminster Health & Wellbeing Centre, said the food bank needs to raise between £3,000 and £4,000 by December 31 this year - or families would be struggling to be fed when winter hits.

The food bank currently has reserves of just £900, and is forking out cash on a weekly basis to provide food and basic provisions to families in need.

Since opening in 2012, 20 per cent of Axminster's community has used the bank in one way or another - with £100,000 worth of food handed out.

Mrs Jones said: "We will have families going hungry this winter if we do not raise the money.

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"We have seen a 15 per cent increase in traffic this year compared to last.

"Let's not forget about the delays with Universal Credit, and over the summer holidays we will see young families that will not be fed by their schools. The reliance on the food bank will grow."

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Such is the usage of Axminster's food bank, volunteers say they need replacements of every item that is handed out to families. These include food and toiletries.

Mrs Jones said: "No-one knows when they are going to be in a similar situation as those who use the food bank. It happens to everyone - we have had people who have never ever thought that they would be in that situation.

"No-one wants their children to go without food either."

The food bank is holding a fundraiser in October to try and raise important funds.

A health and wellbeing exhibition is being staged at the Guildhall in Axminster, showcasing what the charity does and how it impacts people's lives.

The event, on October 12, asks a £1 donation from attendees.

Mrs Jones added: "Here at the food bank, we would like to be unemployed! If we knew people didn't need this service we would be delighted to stop. But for now, we are here to stay. As long as agencies continue to refer, we will continue to give food.

We also shouldn't forget the large amount of success stories in our area where people have returned to work, learnt to read, supported others in the community, become volunteers and most of all have gone back to having happy and fulfilling lives."

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