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Local food bank experiencing significant rise in use

Boston Food Bank has seen demand for its service soar as residents struggle amid the cost of living crisis.

The food bank, which is part of the nationwide Trussell Trust and led by the Parish of Boston, has seen a notable increase in the number of residents requesting support, with many also being referred to them by Citizen Advice and Job Centre referrals.

Boston Food Bank has been running since 2010 and has seen many donations from local residents, businesses and community groups including Boston Town Area Committee, local council Household Support Funds, Tesco, Asda, The Co-Operative, Lincolnshire Co-op, Lidl and local allotment groups. The food bank has seen its weekly numbers double over the past year alone.

Chair, Revd Sally Clifton, who helps wiyth logistics and collections, said: "The food bank is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays for two hours each day and we have seen a footfall increased from 8 to 12 per session and we expect it to increase even further in the coming months.

"In the last couple of months, we have depleted our supplies and haven't been able to obtain all required stock.

"Generally food is the biggest issue at the moment. We have seen an increase in individuals and families being referred to us."

Bob Taylor, now Food Bank Manager for the Parish of Boston has volunteered there since 2012. Bob retired in 2011 and was formerly a Mental Health Nurse with 34 years' experience. He wanted to be able to give back to his community, share his knowledge and experiences and help others and 10 years later is still enjoying what he is doing in helping those in need.

Bob, said: "We are getting 14 to 21 families come in every week because they can't cope with their costs. Many people we see through our doors not only are struggling with the cost of food but also have trouble with rent arrears, debt, unexpected bills or issues with benefits and universal credit, so we now have internal channels in which we can point them to for help and advice.

"Today's cost-of-living crisis means people are choosing between keeping the lights on and putting food on the table so even simple things like budgeting skills, the warm home discount, any grant opportunities available, can really help.

"The Food Bank functions on six volunteers and myself as manager. With funding from Trussell Trust last year we have been able to fund a Citizens Advice representative to be present at the Food Bank sessions and this has proven to be invaluable in many ways. Immediate access to a needed service and assistance with what must feel like a very overpowering situation. Which in turn gives a sense of hope, empowerment, value and purpose to the individuals who use the service."

The donations and support the Food Bank gets in is absolutely amazing but there are always items that they struggle to get in such as fresh fruit and vegetables, fish, biscuits, tea, coffee, juice and long life milk. Also toiletries are a huge shortage such as shampoo, shower gel, toothpaste, deodorant, shaving items.

They are also hoping to bring the local charity shops on board with a voucher system enabling individuals to purchase warm clothing for winter.

The Co-Operative Travel branches have been collecting £1 donations from each willing client which goes to the local Food Bank at Christmastime. These donations last year allowed them to present 83 Christmas presents to children who visited the Church whose families were in financial crisis.