Referrals to Lostock Hall food bank soar by 600%

Volunteers Elizabeth Hebson and Bev Redman outside the New Day Church building carrying food bank items to be delivered to clients.
Volunteers Elizabeth Hebson and Bev Redman outside the New Day Church building carrying food bank items to be delivered to clients.

A Lostock Hall food bank is making an urgent appeal for more support as referrals soar by around 600% due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.

Volunteers at New Day Church's food bank in Ward Street are now receiving a week's worth of referrals in just one day. And they are carrying out twice as many deliveries than last week to families who cannot afford to buy food.

Staff at The Beam&Brycg pub in Bamber Bridge, which has donated two cars full of fresh and frozen food to New Day Church food bank.

Staff at The Beam&Brycg pub in Bamber Bridge, which has donated two cars full of fresh and frozen food to New Day Church food bank.

They also used to pack under 20 bags per week - and are now packing 30.

Volunteer Jennifer Tidy says they are running low on essentials like rice and pasta, and have no tinned meat and fish, jars of sauces and long-life milk.

She added: "The referral phone hasn't stopped ringing. It's all hands on deck but we can't bear the thought of anyone going without. You hear about the circumstances that some people are in and you just want to help."

The team is now delivering on Tuesdays as well as Thursdays.

"It's been crazy but everyone is trying to do their bit," said Jennifer.

But stocks have plummeted, she adds.

"Many community members were coming in when the building was open last week.

"But we're concerned about donations dropping. People can't get hold of pasta and rice. I went into Sainsbury's and Waitrose and there was nothing.

"I can't imagine what people have got in their houses. But the families we support have nothing. They're struggling to feed their children. The parents might go hungry so that their kids can eat.

"It can be hard for us to realise what other local people are going through.

"But we see smiles on faces when we deliver food to them, and the relief that they know they can provide for their families.

"It's really sad.

"Lots of people are worried about the food bank closing. I honestly don't know what they'll do if we can't provide for them."

She added: "People also don't want to leave their house and they can't get to our normal drop-off points.

"But they can make a financial donation to us."

The food banks supports people in Leyland, Bamber Bridge, Lostock Hall, Clayton Brook, Clayton Le Woods and Penwortham. But the team is now receiving numerous calls from Preston.

And Jennifer says it cannot afford to feed people there.

Despite TK Maxx in Capitol Centre, Preston, giving them bags of pasta over the weekend before it closed, stocks are already running low due to high demand for food.

But pockets of the community are still doing their bit to help.

The Beam & Brycg pub in Bamber Bridge donated two cars full of fresh and frozen food before it closed, and a local store stepped in to offer a staff fridge-freezer to hold the items until they could be delivered to 14 additional families in need.

And a New Day Church member is funding a second fridge-freezer, while Waitrose has provided numerous Easter Eggs.

"The generosity of local people has been incredible. So we are really grateful," said Jennifer.

"We all need to work together and help each other. We hope people carry on donating whatever they can. We're optimistic that everyone is going to come together and do their bit."

All drop-off points for donations, except for New Day Church, have been closed. Items, including toilet roll and hand gel, can now be dropped off at the Ward Street venue on Tuesdays from 9am to 1pm.

For more information, or to donate money or arrange for items to be collected, please call 07928 335 679, send a message to New Day Church Foodbank, Lostock Hall, on Facebook or visit https://www.newdaychurch.uk/serving-our-community/food-bank

Referral forms are available via the website.