Wokingham Foodbank, in Rose Street, has fed more than 1,000 people since it opened its doors seven months ago. Bracknell Foodbank, based at the Kerith Community Church, which opened in 2009, helps about 450 a month.
These are among the many Trussell Trust Foodbanks which have helped more than 900,000 people across the UK over the past 12 months – up from 346,992 last year. Those helped include adults and children, who receive ‘nutritionally balanced’ food for three days, depending on the size of their family.
Geoff Hallett, a volunteer at Bracknell Foodbank, said: “We help children and adults, and many of these people are experiencing a crisis. We do see 30 to 40 new people each month, and many of their situations would seriously deteriorate if the support was removed.
“I think what we’re seeing is the people at the low end of the income scale being hit harder with the cost of food and heating. As the heating goes up, they find they have to meet these bills.”
Out of the 1,080 people the Wokingham Foodbank helped in its first seven months of operation, 444 were children, and while families are a frequent sight at both foodbanks, single people are also coming for help.
David Atkinson, from the foodbank, said: “We’re seeing growing numbers turning to the Wokingham Foodbank for help, which shouldn’t be happening in one of the most affluent areas in the seventh richest country in the world.
“Life is very difficult for people on low incomes, and increasing numbers are struggling to make ends meet and are hitting a crisis where they cannot afford food.”
Food is donated by residents, businesses and community groups.
Anyone wanting food parcels must get a voucher in advance from social workers or other care professionals who work with the foodbanks.
Bracknell Foodbank is open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays noon-2.30pm at the Kerith Community Church.
Wokingham Foodbank is open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 1.30-3.30pm and Saturdays 10-11.30am at 10 Rose Street, Wokingham.