A COMMUNITY charity boss has praised the ‘overwhelming’ generosity of shoppers who donated dozens of bags of groceries to food banks.
The Burton upon Trent and District YMCA teamed up with staff at the town’s Asda store and Bretby Rotary Club to carry out the collection drive.
Volunteers asked shoppers to purchase items from a wish list of dried and tinned goods like pasta, jam and cereal.
Enough food was donated to fill 50 food bags which will now be handed out from the YMCA’s banks at its homeless shelter, Reconnect, in James Street, Burton, and in Grove Street, Swadlincote.
Gillian Cox, appeals co-ordinator for the YMCA in Burton, told the Mail: “We asked people to choose one item from the list but the response was overwhelming.
“People were coming back with shopping bags for us. It was incredible.
“People were telling us that the food banks are fantastic and they were very keen to support them - a lot of them were being very humble.
“Every item which is donated helps and fortunately we had a team from Bretby Rotary Club who were handing out the shopping lists.
“We also met people who had used the food bank who were saying they were very grateful when it helped them out.”
The charity’s James Street food bank has been operating for 10 years and has now grown into a significant community enterprise thanks to the help of volunteers.
Each food bag contains enough items to feed a person for three days with each person entitled to four bags a year.
They are made up of everyday items which will provide enough food for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Mrs Cox said demand for food banks in Burton has increased with about 100 people a month now needing support from the banks.
She said: “There’s a great need for food banks in the town. A lot of people will walk past the bank a dozen times before they step inside but our volunteers are very sensitive about this.
“People are definitely struggling. Some will feel that they can carry on because they might have lost their job but have a bit of money.
“But they may suddenly realise they have reached rock bottom and they can’t make ends meet anymore.”
“These are the type of people we see - when their life might have been plunged into crises.
“We have had people who have had their benefits stopped, their health had broken down - these banks are a lifeline for them.”