Honiton food bank could stop offering certain supplies by summer if ‘unprecedented’ demand doesn’t ease

PUBLISHED: 10:59 20 February 2020 | UPDATED: 10:59 20 February 2020

Honiton's food bank is facing an 'unprecedented' demand. Picture: Getty Images

Honiton's food bank is facing an 'unprecedented' demand. Picture: Getty Images

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Honiton’s food bank could be forced to offer only staple foods by summer if an ‘unprecedented demand’ from the community doesn’t ease.

That's the warning from Geoff Gilbert, who with district councillor Mike Allen, is running the bank at the King's Centre, off High Street.

The pair, who are covering for an ill employee, are handing out food to upwards of 20 people a day.

The food bank only opens on Tuesday and Friday, but Mr Gilbert is having to spend the food bank's funds on provisions during the week to satisfy demand.

He said: "Demand is very high and supply is not enough.

"We are seeing an unprecedented number of people coming in each week.

"We are feeding a large number of people and the food disappears off the shelf."

The food bank has put out public appeals, and was recently informed it would be given an 'enormous' order from Tesco.

The donation was made by an organisation called Give Food, which delivers food to food banks.

However, Mr Gilbert said the donation would only help the food bank 'for a bit'.

He added: "For the first time, I have been going out every week and shopping, drawing on our funds. I have spent £30 to £40 a week to keep the things that people really need.

"I have not been buying things like juice and sugar - I've been buying milk, tinned meat, some vegetables and fruit in order to keep us going so we do not send people away without food.

"We have been at the stage of sending people away without some of the things we would like to give them."

Mr Gilbert said job losses have heavily contributed to the growing pressure on the food bank, as people are facing a lengthy wait to switch over to Universal Credit. He has spent £100 in the last three Tuesdays.

He said: "If I have to continue spending that by summer, I will have to think very carefully about how much I buy.

"It means we will not be able to deliver a range of food."

There are several food bank drop-off points around Honiton, including at the Co-op in Lace Walk and St Paul's Church.

The bank is particularly looking for the following supplies: meat meals, sugar, coffee, tined sweetcorn and carrots, tinned fruit, custard, pasta sauce, rice pudding, rice and tinned potatoes.

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