Lancashire County Council is getting behind food banks in a bid to end poverty and malnutrition in the area.
County Coun Azhar Ali, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, is urging people to support their local food bank by donating goods or money, or by giving up some of their time to help out.
Leyland’s food bank, which is run by the town’s Churches Together organisation and operated from Leyland St Mary’s RC Parish Church, has a good network of volunteers, but is always in need of more food or cash donations to help feed poor families in the town.
Coun Ali said: “Food poverty is a growing problem that everyone needs to be aware of.
“It’s shocking that 5,500 people across Britain were admitted to hospital with malnutrition last year.
“This is a health issue that we should all do something about, and supporting your local food bank is an excellent way to do this.
“The food banks feed families in disadvantaged areas but they need the help of the local community to keep providing these services, whether from people helping to prepare or hand out the food, or to make donations.”
LCC has been working with food banks as part of its plans to target health and social care services at those who are in greatest need of support.
Last week, the Guardian reported how Leyland’s county councillor, Matthew Tomlinson, had awarded the town’s food bank with a £1,000 grant to help buy more food.
It was starting to see a huge increase in demand, and other food banks in the area, such as Penwortham’s, are also being overwhelmed by the amount of residents turning to them for help.
The Salvation Army also runs a food bank, and Captain Dr Alex Cadogan said the Preston branch was receiving about 350 referrals each month from families and individuals across the city.
He said: “We are getting a wider type of client group coming through to us from all sorts of sectors of our community, whether that’s people who work or families who are going through particular problems.
“It takes quite small changes in circumstances to tip people into it, so we do see a lot of situations where people who are not from the traditional background suddenly find themselves in extreme poverty, especially where there’s been family break down.”