Desperate families are being told by Universal Credit staff to use a food bank during the five-week wait for benefits.
That's according to Lostock Hall volunteer Bev Redman, who says the New Day Church food bank in Ward Street is inundated with referrals.
Now the team is asking people to club together to donate daily essential items during Lent, from February 26th (Ash Wednesday) to April 9th (Maundy Thursday).
Bev added: "Some people have absolutely nothing in their cupboards so they have no way of feeding their families. I've seen people hugging boxes of washing powder because they've needed them so much while one lady was using newspaper for sanitary wear because she didn't have anything.
"Some families are really struggling for gas or electricity. They have a toss up between buying energy or food. If we can take the latter out of the equation by giving them a bag of food, it can make a huge difference."
Bev's daughter Jennifer Tidy, who also volunteers at the food bank, said the food bank supports 12 families each week.
Donations can be dropped off at the church during Lent or following a 10-30am church service on April 12th.