RECORD numbers of families are seeking help from the Bicester Foodbank.
In the past three years the number of people visiting the organisation, based at the Sheep Street Methodist Church, has almost doubled.
Founder Janet Ray said: “It’s an awful situation, but I’m glad we are there to help these people, otherwise I don’t know where they would go.”
In the financial year 2009/10, 626 people were fed by the charity.
But so far in 2011/12, 1,148 people have had help, and that number is only set to rise.
Mrs Ray, 73, said: “We have seen a lot more people coming to the foodbank, particularly just before Christmas.
“One day we had 15 families in, the most we have had.
“Before, it was usually three or four a day.”
She said among the reasons people turned to the foodbank was benefit delays, sudden unemployment and people taking “big cuts” in their salary to keep their job.
Mrs Ray said: “In some cases people are very desperate. One woman told me she had sold her wedding ring to buy food for her daughter.
“It’s an awful situation, but I’m glad we are there to help these people, otherwise I don’t know where they would go.”
The charity, set up in 2006, celebrated its fifth birthday in December and has never been more needed.
The town’s eight churches collect weekly contributions from their congregations, and residents donate items.
The foodbank is open Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 1-3pm, and people can be referred by a church, doctor, social services or Citizens Advice Bureau.
firstname.lastname@example.org * Call the foodbank on 01869 357181, or donate food at Headmasters hair salon, Market Square, or at the Methodist church.