DEMAND from hungry Burton families for emergency food handouts has doubled in the last three years, according to newly released figures.
The Burton and District YMCA has revealed 1,190 people needed help from the charity’s food bank in 2013 – almost double the 602 helped in 2010.
Demand reached record levels in October 2013 when 134 received food.
The charity’s chief executive Paul Laffey told the Mail the number of people asking for help had since fallen ‘a little, but not a lot’.
He said: “The pre-Christmas period saw a significant increase.
“We find that traditionally in the lead-up to going back to school can be a busy time as well.
“In the tradition of the YMCA we have seen the figures increase year-on-year.
“I would like to think that the figures will level out and they won’t rise again but we are seeing more people who are needing that help.
“Unfortunately, we do not see them disappearing by any means.”
The announcement from the Burton YMCA comes just days after Vic Wileman, of the town’s Salvation Army food bank, revealed the charity endured of a month of ‘sheer chaos’ in December.
Mr Laffey said early signs of an economic revival were encouraging but added there would always be people who needed help.
He said: “There are encouraging signs with unemployment going down in Burton so there’s optimism for businesses.
“But there are always people on low incomes who will continue to be in need.
“It’s worth remembering the men and women who will walk past a food bank a dozen times before plucking up the courage to step inside.
“That swallowing of pride takes real guts and it always good to see the sensitivity of the YMCA staff and volunteers who are clearly concerned to remove as much as the discomfort as possible. “
Mr Laffey added that it is thanks to regular media reports which means vulnerable households know where to ask for help.
He said: “Certainly I think more people are aware of what food banks can offer to people in crisis.
“Thanks to the good work the Burton Mail has done people know where to turn in that crisis.”