A foodbank in Skegness is facing its biggest challenge this Christmas after vital support was axed.
For the past three years food parcels prepared in the Community Larder at the Storehouse have been boosted by funding from Lincolnshire Community Assistance Scheme (LCAS), accessed through Lincolnshire County Council.
However, the parallel food parcel service ended last month placing more pressure on the foodbank to rely entirely on donations.
And the situation is expected to get worse in the run-up to Christmas. Alan Bailey, community manager, said: “There is always more demand for food parcels when the seasonal jobs come to an end. Zero hours contacts and changes in benefits have also impacted demand.
“At the moment we are getting 100 referrals a month and that will rise towards Christmas.
“There are many reasons someone might come to us for help – unexpected bills, debt and not being able to work through depression. Food parcels are just part of the support we offer.
“But the reality for many families is one plus two doesn’t equal three anymore and people are facing a choice of whether to pay the rent or eat.
“Until October, 40-50 parcels were provided through the LCAS scheme but now we are having to rely 100 per cent on donations. We desperately need more donations to meet demand.”
The situation is so bad that this year the foodbank is not appealing for extra items to help bring a festive feel to the table at Christmas.
Mr Bailey said: “Because demand is so high we are focussing on fulfilling the need for food parcels and making them as nutritional as possible, rather than asking for the extras that make Christmas.
“A lot of people want to help the less fortunate at this time of year but don’t know how. Donating food to the community larder is one of the easiest ways.”
There is a collection point at the Storehouse on North Parade for anyone wishing to make a donation. Items required include in canned food such as spaghetti, beans, soup and rice pudding, and pasta, sauces and tea bags.
A statement on the county council’s website confirms the closure of LCAS.
Coun Sue Woolley, executive member for community engagement said: “The Lincolnshire Community Assistance Scheme (LCAS) was financed by central government. Sadly, it stopped funding the scheme in April 2016.
“We’ve managed to make the funding stretch for an extra six months, but despite our best efforts, the money has now run out. For residents in the area, there is advice and support available via the Citizens Advice Bureau either online, via phone on 03444 111 444 or at the office on Algitha Road.”