Shropshire Star

Foodbank records 'busiest year ever' as demand increases tenfold

A foodbank has recorded its ‘busiest year ever’ with 789 food parcels distributed to vulnerable people in the local community.

Ludlow Foodbank based at Rockspring Community Centre. In Picture: Volunteer Lucy Lewis

Staff at Ludlow Food Bank supported more than 1,000 people last year, giving away a significant amount of food – enough to feed 1,851 people for a week.

It is estimated that the foodbank supported about 10 per cent of the population of Ludlow last year, whereas in 2010 they would have been supporting just one per cent.

The foodbank has reported that demand for services had increased ‘tenfold’ in the last 12 years, rising from 73 food parcels in 2010 to 789 in 2022.

Ruth Davies, Ludlow Foodbank coordinator, said: “Unfortunately I have to report once again that last year was our busiest ever.

“It corresponds with the gloomy reports in the press of ever increasing pressure on our finances, with people on low incomes being the most vulnerable.

“We have grown enormously over the years – we started with a set of shelves in the minister’s office in 2005, and he provided whatever food parcels were needed.

“We now occupy a large proportion of the Baptist church, and have more than 50 volunteers making food parcels, collecting donations, buying required items, researching ways to help people, making sure we comply with Health and safety regulations, coordinating everything and all the other jobs that come along with doing this.”

December was the busiest month for volunteers in every respect, with 109 parcels being distributed in that month.

A considerable amount of work went in to putting together food parcels and the special Christmas hampers, which included toys for children.

Staff and volunteers thanked pupils at Moor Park School for their donations of new toys, as well as a benefactor who gifted Argos vouchers for teenagers.

The team at the foodbank are now having a re-think of their operations throughout the Christmas period, which was incredibly busy on staff.

But on a positive note, Ludlow Foodbank has seen an increase in donations, as well as enquiries into volunteering.

One donations collector commented: “The main thing that I’ve noticed this year is that, while demand on the Food Bank is steadily increasing, so are donations. Not only do they seem to have gone up in quantity, but the quality also seems to have improved.

“I don’t mean gourmet stuff (though, this being Ludlow, some surprisingly niche items do come in from time to time), so much as thoughtful non-food items that hungry people may well neglect to buy for themselves and their families.

“Ludlow is stepping up to the challenge in the form of extra volunteers coming forward, which is just as well as this year Tesco, Aldi, OneStop, Myriad Organic and Applegreen have been joined by Sainsbury’s, Spar and Teme Leisure in providing donation boxes.

“It’s quite humbling to feel a small but useful part of this extensive network of generosities that is making such a difference to so many lives.”