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Soaring demand for food bank handouts

Bicester Food Bank manager Janet Ray along with volunteer Glenn Jones. PNL-140417-143105001

Bicester Food Bank manager Janet Ray along with volunteer Glenn Jones. PNL-140417-143105001

The number of people turning to Bicester Food Bank for help to feed themselves and their families has risen by 29 per cent in the last year.

Food parcels were handed out to 566 extra families in the year 2013/14 by the charity based at Minton Place.

Project manager Janet Ray has seen more than double the people use their service since 2011/12 when 1,000 residents were helped.

She said: “I do not think it is right for a country like Britain having to have food banks but I am glad that we have things like food banks because people desperately need it. People do not really want to come but when they get so low, they have to.”

Referrals are made by several different agencies for those needing help to receive a voucher. This entitles them to enough food to feed them for three days, with three meals a day.

Last year Bicester Food Bank, supported by the Trussell Trust, collected more than 16 tonnes of food. Donations are collected at churches, Headmasters, Market Square, Bicester, and at two annual collection days at the town’s Tesco branch.

Mrs Ray said: “It is really good to hear success stories. One man just got a job and came in to tell us and thank us. He said ‘if it had not been for you I would have committed suicide’.

“He really wanted to work but he couldn’t until he got somewhere to live. It makes it all worthwhile, that we have not only helped them with food but also we have helped to get them through a real crisis time in their life.”

Mrs Ray and her team of 20 volunteers open up the food bank, on Victoria Road, from 10am-noon five days a week.

 

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