Hundreds of West Norfolk people will struggle to feed their families this winter, volunteers behind the King’s Lynn food bank are warning.

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The Churches Together project has attracted an increasing number of referrals since its launch last October and has already helped to feed nearly 1,300 adults and children.

But, with the weather turning colder and energy prices soaring, the charity expects many more desperate households to be knocking at its door in the coming months.

Project manager pastor Kevan Crane said the winter proved to be its busiest time of the year, with demand being particularly high in the lean weeks after Christmas.

“Without the food bank, these people face poverty, anxiety over not being able to feed their families, perhaps more debt and even getting into trouble to make ends meet,” he said.

“We’re here to bridge that gap and we currently help on average a hundred people a month. In the winter, people sometimes have to choose between heating their homes and eating and hopefully we can help with that.”

The food bank, based at the Purfleet Trust in St Ann’s Fort, is linked to a country-wide network run by the Trussell Trust and has referrals from 26 local agencies, including social services and the Jobcentre.

Vouchers are given to families so they can collect a food box providing three balanced meals for each member of the household for three days.

The charity fed 101 people, including 26 children, and distributed 768kg of donated food last month alone. It also provided baby food and nappies to families in crisis.

Redundancy, illness, domestic violence, debt, rises in the cost of living and family breakdown are some of the reasons why people go hungry, but Mr Crane said problems within the benefit system were the main reason for referrals.

Last month 64 vouchers were given out and 74.5pc of those were given to people left desperately short of cash due to delays in their benefit payments.

“I can’t see demand for our help decreasing, not with the proposed changes to the benefit system,” he said. “I think it will continue for the foreseeable future.”

Mr Crane, of Lynn Baptist Church, said the food bank helped couples and families of all ages, but the people most often in need of help were individuals aged between 20 and 40, including single mothers.

The food bank was grateful to receive donations from a number of schools and churches as part of their harvest festival celebrations and the warehouse, on the Hardwick Narrows Industrial Estate, is currently well-stocked.

Organisers were delighted by the response to its most recent collection at the Hardwick Tesco earlier this month, when 600kg of food was collected in a single day and more non-perishable food is always needed.

There will be a collection point at Asda in South Wootton for two weeks from December 3 and the 23-strong team of volunteers will soon be making up Christmas food boxes.

Donations can also be left at the Purfleet Trust.

Visit www.kingslynn.foodbank.org.uk or call 01553 763015 for more information.

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