LEEK’S new food bank has supplied 83 people with provisions since opening last month.
Figures show that up to last week, and during its first month of operation, the food bank which is held every Tuesday and Friday at Leek Pentecostal Church in West Street, provided meals for 46 adults and 37 children.
The food bank has been set up by churches in Leek and Cheddleton in conjunction with the Trussell Trust, which works with churches and communities to open new food banks.
Vouchers for the meals can be obtained from several different organisations including schools, housing associations, police and health visitors.
Ian Smith Elder and treasurer of Leek Pentecostal Church said: “As we provide each person with sufficient food for three days this makes more than 700 meals that have been distributed.
“If it was not for the volunteers who have been given their time and the donors who have generously given food it would not have been possible to help these people.
“By far the biggest cause of the crisis is benefit changes and benefit delays.
“People have been available to obtain vouchers for the food from many referrals agencies taking part in the project.”
The news comes after district well-being ‘profile’ was presented to members of Staffordshire Moorlands District Council’s health and community overview and scrutiny panel last week, which indicated that family poverty was worsening.
The report published by Staffordshire Observatory said: “Child poverty, and therefore family poverty, is worsening, with around 12 per cent in the Staffordshire Moorlands.
“There are hot spots area in Leek North and Biddulph East where proportions are particularly high.”
Leek South county councillor, Charlotte Atkins, said the figures showed that the food bank was badly needed as the number of clients would increase.
She said: “At a meeting of the council's Welfare Reform Working Group, it was made clear that the crisis had increased due to the cutbacks which included the bedroom tax and council tax allowance. The position has made people more desperate.
“The food bank has only just opened and the numbers needing help will continue to increase as the benefit changes are still working their way through.
"It is also affecting people who are working, who have lost their jobs or have had their hours reduced. The real concern is for people on low incomes.”
The food bank at the Pentecostal Church is open each week on Tuesday and Friday's between 12.30pm and 2.30pm.