Tonnes of food donated by concerned shoppers is being used to keep Banbury families in crisis from going hungry.
Banbury Foodbank has experienced a 50 per cent rise in demand since benefit changes were implemented in April.
Manager David Stapleton said in the two years since the foodbank has been running it has given emergency food supplies to nearly 2,500 adults and children.
He said: “The recipients have to come with a voucher from agencies such as CAB, family and community centres, the job centre and health visitors. More than 80 per cent only come once. A high proportion are people going through benefit changes and because of delays in their payments they find themselves without food.
“A lot eke out what they have and some don’t have enough to heat their homes.”
Every food pack has enough for three meals a day for three days for each individual.
Shops including Sainsbury’s, Marks and Spencer, Tesco, Wilkinson and Iceland have been holding collection points in the run up to Christmas.
“During December people get a standard pack but with some Christmas bonuses such as a pudding, cake, chocolates and, in some cases, a gift. It depends on what people put in our boxes,” said Mr Stapleton.
“At harvest time, the churches and schools collected 1.6 tonnes of food for us. A lot of individuals give us donations throughout the year and there are ongoing collections at the People’s Church – where our foodbank is based – and other churches.
“We’ve been touched that some of the people who have donated food are former clients who have got themselves sorted out and have wanted to give something back,” he said.
“Foodbanks have popped up to meet a need.”