Low wages and high cost of living pinpointed as reasons food bank remains busy

A food bank says it is continuing to help almost 100 people a month with the parcels that it gives out.

Ludlow Food Bank helps around 100 people per month
Ludlow Food Bank helps around 100 people per month

Although organisers of Ludlow Food Bank say they are not seeing quite as many people as they did last year, the help it is giving is still far more than any year prior to 2020.

Now the food bank is also beginning to make home-cooked frozen ready meals to put into food parcels.

In its quarterly report the Food Bank said that by the end of September 2020 it had given out 427 food parcels, with enough food to feed 902 people for at least a week an average of 100 people per month.

“This year the numbers are 370 food parcels, with enough food to feed 849 people for at least a week an average of 94 people per month,” Ruth Davies the Food Bank co-ordinator said. “This year, as every year, the largest group we see are single men, although the percentage is lower than it has been previously. What we have seen this year is a percentage increase in the number of single parent families, and couples.”

“Many people who come to us only have one food parcel, and it is sufficient to see them through the crisis they are experiencing. There have been 77 household however that have had more prolonged crises, and have had at least two food parcels.” Ruth said that the food parcels were now more generous now, as the food bank had been given a considerable amount of grant money and donations.

“We now provide vouchers for butchers, green grocers and bakers. In total each food parcel recipient receives £25 worth of vouchers to spend in local independent shops. We are very fortunate to be able to do this in Ludlow, many towns only have large chain shops and it is much more difficult to reach such an arrangement with national chains. The hugely positive thing about the vouchers is that it gives people more choice, and the dignity to choose items that they enjoy.”

From this month volunteers will be making home-cooked frozen ready meals to put in the food parcels. “Two of our regular volunteers will be working with Di from Hands Together Ludlow to fill our freezer. If there are any keen cooks who would like to help with this, please let me know on 07896 706 189 or email foodparcelsatlbc@gmail.com.”

Ruth said the most common reason for needing a food parcel is problems or delays with benefit payments. However there were also people in full time work who were still struggling to make ends meet.

“This is a problem in a town with low average wages, but high average cost of living.

“Other reasons are because someone is having to self-isolate, and unable to shop on-line. Unfortunately 13 food parcels went to people who were victims of domestic violence, often in temporary accommodation after being forced to leave their homes. We have had 5 people who were rehoused, and the costs involved with moving took all their money for a short time. A food parcel helped them hugely. Four people were victims of theft.”

Ruth said it was very unusual for anyone who was not in genuine need to ask for help. Sometimes, people are in tears, and are ashamed to be asking for help.”

Food donations can be made to the Fare Share donation point in Tesco with the money shared between the Food Bank and Hands Together, Ludlow.

“Any tins, packets and ambient storage foods are used by the food bank, any fresh produce is used by Hands Together Ludlow to make community meals.”

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