DEMAND for food packages for those in need has doubled during the credit crunch.
More people are seeking the help of Huddersfield’s Welcome Centre as they struggle financially.
Since last April kind-hearted staff have sent out 2,270 packages of food – up from 1,613 the previous year.
Organisers of the project say the increase of 41% has hit them and they are now supporting more than 50 extra people every week.
But it all means that services supporting people in a crisis are being pushed to their limit.
Project manager Karen Selley said: “At the moment the credit crunch is having a big impact on what’s happening at the project.
“We’re seeing demand go up and supplies go down.
“People’s circumstances are changing and we’re seeing many new people coming to us for help after losing their job.
“The bigger picture is that supplies of food are more in demand, we’ve nearly doubled on what we were sending out last year which was double on the year before.”
Staff make sure the food goes to people who need it most, but they are having to say no to some requests for food packages.
They are appealing for donations of tinned meat, fish, pasta, rice, cereals, biscuits, jam and pastes, long life milk and sugar as well as toothpaste, shampoo and deodorant.
Karen added: “We are also seeing more women come to us who are fleeing domestic violence and so many young people.
“Some of them are just teenagers, some younger than 16 and they are needing our help.
“But a lot of people now, more than we’ve experienced before, are struggling with debt.
“They’ve got unpaid bills mounting up and loans they can’t pay off.
“The project is vital and we really need extra donations.”
The Welcome Centre provides support to individuals and families in crisis in South Kirklees.
They provide food packs, home starter packs, bedding, toiletries and towels, cleaning products and clothes to people who are referred to them.
All of the people they work with are disadvantaged in some way – from being homeless, at risk of offending or have physical health problems.
While they also work with people with learning difficulties, victims of violence and abuse, asylum seekers and refugees.
Karen added: “We are giving out more bedding and home-starter packs than ever before due to changing circumstances as a result of credit crunch.
“More people are becoming homeless because of issues occurring as a result of the credit crunch such as increased number of breakdowns of relationships in families.
“There is also more debt generally due to rising costs of food, energy and generally living – people are having to choose between paying bills and buying food.”
Anyone who can help is asked call into the Huddersfield Methodist Mission on Lord Street in the town centre with donations.
The Welcome Centre is open from 1-4pm from Monday to Friday and contact Karen Selley on 01484 340034 for more details.