Over 4,000 people have had to seek help from Foyle Foodbank so far this year, with numbers expected to soar further in the coming months as the rollout of Universal Credit reaches Derry.
Foyle Foodbank has now confirmed that it has issued almost 40,000 meals to over 4,300 local people this year alone.
The Derry charity released the figures as it launched its city-wide food drive to ensure that no-one goes hungry in the city this Christmas.
The organisers have said that the establishment of the Foodbank in the city, combined with the increased hardship that families on a low income are facing, has resulted in a “huge demand for emergency food”.
Deirdre McDaid, Trustee of Foyle Foodbank said that while the figures so far this year were up slightly on last year, there was “a big increase during the floods and during holiday times”.
She added: “We’re very concerned about the impact Universal Credit is going to have. There are foodbanks in England that have seen a 400% increase as Universal Credit arrives.”
The Foodbank team said that many of its recipients are faced with daily, painful choice of deciding between meals, paying the mortgage/ rent or heating their home.
Last year’s Christmas Food Drive saw eight tons of food collected from over 50 businesses, workplaces, churches, schools and community groups and Foyle Foodbank are again urging local people to help.
James McMenamin, Manager of the Foodbank, said: “We have specially prepared collection boxes and posters to enable a Food Drive Collection point to be easily set up in your premises and once full, volunteers from the Foodbank will come and collect the donations before processing it and getting it to those in need.
“The items most in demand in the Foodbank include tinned meat, tinned fish and tea and coffee.”
Donations for the food drive can also be dropped off at the Foyle Foodbank in Springtown every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 11am to 2pm.
If you can support the Foodbank’s Christmas Food Drive contact 07716129788 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact them via their Facebook page.
The Foodbank is asking for non-perishable food: tinned meat and fish, tinned vegetables, tea and coffee, pasta sauces, rice pudding (tinned), biscuits, instant mash potato, fruit juice (long life), jam, rice/ pasta, tinned fruit, milk (UHT or powdered), tinned or packet soup.