THE high demand for food from people in need meant that the Leek and District Foodbank had its busiest week of the year during the run up to the Christmas period.
The foodbank, which operates out of Leek Pentecostal Church in West Street, is a joint community venture hosted by Leek and District Churches Together. The facility first opened its doors on June 18, 2013.
In the week running up to Christmas volunteers at the headquarters provided food for 56 people consisting of 25 children and 31 adults.
In addition to supplying the normal quantity of food to clients, the foodbank distributed more than 50 additional Christmas food packs throughout December.
Since opening the foodbank has help helped 714 people with three days of food each, which equates to more than 6,300 meals being distributed.
Project co-ordinator Ian Smith said: “The week to the run-up to Christmas was the busiest week we have encountered since we opened the foodbank in June when we provided food for 56 people.
“On Christmas Eve, prior to the Christmas break, we provided food for an additional 19 people consisting of nine adults and 10 children, making our running total since we opened of providing 714 people with three days worth of food each.
“We give thanks that the incoming food donations are still running at a good level and miraculously continue to meet the needed demand, so praise indeed to all our donors.
“Last Friday, just after Christmas, was quieter which was possibly due to the majority of referral agencies being closed for the Christmas break, or because they were served early in the very busy week which we had previously.”
Since June the average number of people using the foodbank has increased.
From week one to week 26 an average of 24 people used the foodbank. However in the weeks 27 and 28 the number had increased to an average of 37 people a week using the facilities.
Mr Smith added: “Once again, a big, big thank you to all individuals and organisations who have helped us in 2013 and a happy and fruitful 2014 to each and everyone as we continue to work together.”
Leek town mayor Councillor John Fisher praised the volunteers. for their work over the last few months.
He said: “The demand for foodbanks is a reflection of the economic circumstances.
“I am so thankful that supplies of food from local organisations, shops and local people’s generosity has enabled the demand to be met.
“A very big thank you should go to the volunteers who have organised the facility and who run the foodbank two days a week."
The foodbank is open on Tuesday and Friday each week from 10am to noon for people donating food, and 12.30pm to 2.30pm for people exchanging food vouchers.