A FOODBANK has said it has seen a 30 per cent increase in the number of families seeking help over the last six months compared to last year.

The Kings Storehouse in Rhyl said it helped as many as 80 families per week who were struggling amid the challenges posed by the coronavirus lockdown including job losses, temporary lay-offs and sickness.

In one day on Thursday, October 15, the foodbank was visited by 17 families who were provided with tinned meat and vegetables as well as bread and butter, however it resulted in its shelves being left "desperately bare".

Since March the foodbank, run by members of Wellspring Church, has provided 800 families with 1,320 parcels, up by 200 families compared to last year. It also provides advice and referral services to partner agencies such as Jobcentre and Citizens Advice.

“After supplying 17 families with a week's worth of food yesterday, our shelves are desperately bare,” the foodbank said in a post on its Facebook page.

“We are so grateful our community helps those needing support in these difficult times.

“Every can, packet and penny make a real difference to someone’s life. When possible, a couple of own brand items really mounts up for our necessary work.”

James Longden, foodbank volunteer, said job losses, temporary lay-offs, illness and unexpected bills for families “living on the poverty line” are the main causes behind families seeking help.

“The coronavirus pandemic has been a very tough period,” he said. “At the start it was difficult to get enough supply of food.

“At the peak of lockdown we were helping 80 families per week, and although at the moment we are not at that number we need to plan ahead in case more is needed.

“We have been close to not being able to provide food to families, but always manage to get things in in time.”

Mr Longden said that as lockdown has eased, higher level donations from the Welsh Government and Denbighshire County Council have stopped, meaning that the foodbank is again relying on donations from members of the public.

“Donations mean that we can continue our work,” he added. “There is a fantastic community spirit in Rhyl and people are always willing to help out.

“Families who come to the foodbank have a lot of gratitude or they are surprised at seeing people care for them.

“The services would be used more if the stigma around them was addressed, sometimes people do not know about it, and it is also difficult to reach out and see what support there is.”

To donate to Kings Storehouse, call 07936077425 or visit www.kingsstorehouse.org.uk/