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Foodbank sees huge increase in demand during lockdown

Matt Dixon

What a difference a year makes.

Truro Foodbank has seen a 60 per cent increase in demand compared to last year, as the legacy of covid continues to bear its teeth.

Simon Fann, manager of the foodbank which operates at Truro Methodist Church and All Saints Church, told the Voice: "I'd like to thank the people of Truro because their donations have kept up with the increased demand, so we've managed to keep pace with it."
In January and February last year, 395 people were fed. For the same period this year, that number rose to 612. The volume of supplied food in 2018 was 33.2 tons, which almost doubled to 61 tons in 2020.

"Many people think that the majority who come to us are homeless, but that's simply not the case. The two main reasons why people come to us are because of low income and a change or delay in their benefits,” Simon added.

"One woman who was breast feeding came to us because she was living on one meal a day. We've had postmen, teaching assistants and NHS workers come in for food. We also see people with mental health issues whose anxieties are added to when they don't know where the next meal is coming from.”

The Trussell Trust, the organisation behind the foodbank, helps people who are in "food crisis", providing meals for them at the point of crisis, until such time that they are no longer in it.
The foodbank provides three days of nutritionally balanced emergency food, containing meat, fish, fruit and vegetables. Pet food, nappies and household cleaning products are also available.
Simon added: "Some people are reluctant to come to us because of pride – they think, 'I've got a job, I shouldn't need to go'.

"One chap told us that he knew when we distributed food because he'd sat outside in the car park for the previous three sessions before finally coming in. We don't want people to let it get that far gone. We don't judge, if people come in we'll give them food, simple as that."
Another reason which may make people think twice about the service is the need to provide a foodbank referral voucher number.

They are provided by GPs and more than 80 other agencies, to enable recipients not only to receive food but also professional help.

The proliferation of community larders which have popped up locally do not require a referral voucher, but Simon was quick to point out that did not make them any less important.

"The community larders are doing a fantastic job but the funding for them runs out at the end of March, so some of them may not be able to continue.

"The Truro Foodbank has been here since 2009 and all the donations we've had during that time have meant we've never had a shortage.

"The main two issues for people have always been low income or a change in benefits. The third reason is domestic abuse, where victims have had to move into emergency accommodation and they come to us for food."