A RHYL foodbank has been thrown a life raft by a supermarket giant during the "unprecedented challenge" of Coronavirus.

The Trussell Trust network's food bank service, which opened at the Sussex Street Christian Centre last September, has been able to feed three times as many people using donations of surplus food from Tesco. 

Due to Covid-19, the service - alongside the town's three other services - has seen an increased demand for food packages.

Project leader Rachel Round- who is also a trained ChildLine staff counsellor, said the donations of food, via Tesco’s Community Food Connection scheme run in conjunction with food charity FareShare had been a great help.

“Demand has skyrocketed,” she said. “We’re now feeding three times the number of people we were before lockdown.

"One day, we helped nearly 50 people in just three hours.

“Whereas before we only provided emergency food parcels to those who had a referral, we are now helping anyone who needs it - no questions asked.

"We’re seeing a great number of people struggling to cope who might have lost their jobs or who have reduced monthly incomes as a result of furlough."

With help from the FareShare scheme, the food bank - which originally was only open on Tuesdays and Thursdays - is now able to open an extra day a week, delivering parcels to the community every Friday.

This increase in capacity comes following a plea from Emma Revie, the Trust's chief executive, at the outset of the lock down in March for more donations in the face of dwindling donations and record demand.

The Rhyl Foodbank is just one of thousands of food banks - including the Abergele District Foodbank and a service at the Alive Church in Prestatyn - being supported in their work amid the Covid-19 crisis thanks to donations from the supermarket.

In addition to its usual supplies of surplus food to charities and community groups Tesco is providing an additional £15million of food to support charities supplied by FareShare and foodbanks that are part of the Trussell Trust’s network. Already 122 trucks full of Tesco food donations have been delivered to the two charities, with more than 30 tonnes of food being delivered to FareShare Cymru.

Sarah Germain, Project Manager at FareShare Cymru said the additional donations from Tesco were making a huge difference to charities and community groups which receive supplies from them. 

Ms Germain said: “We are immensely thankful to Tesco for their continued support during the coronavirus pandemic. Many of the frontline charities we work with continue to provide essential support within their communities, and the additional donations from Tesco will help us to keep up a steady supply of food to them during this difficult time.”

For more information on the Trussell Trust's Services in Rhyl, Abergele and Prestatyn, visit trusselltrust.org.