OKEHAMPTON Foodbank has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise £3,000 to provide food for needy people in the community over the year ahead.

Last year, the foodbank provided 343 packages of food for 518 adults and 340 children experiencing times of crisis.

Volunteer administrator Jane Elliott said demand for the emergency packages was expected to increase in the autumn when Universal Credit is rolled out across West Devon.

‘Experiences from other foodbanks are that low income families are especially vulnerable when this new benefit system comes into place,’ she said.

’This month the foodbank has launched a new fundraising campaign to ensure it has enough money to cover the cost of providing food over the next year. The aim is to raise a total of £3,000 from local people and organisations who care about those who need a helping hand to put food on the table.

‘The people who use the foodbank often turn to us because they are on very low incomes and have had a delay in receiving benefits. We also provide food for those who have suffered domestic violence, and we have special parcels for those who are homeless and have no cooking facilities.’

Volunteers at the foodbank are also working with local schools to run a special scheme during the forthcoming school holidays to provide food parcels for families who will struggle to provide enough food for their children without the help of free school meals.

Jenny, a volunteer who has helped with the foodbank for nearly three years, said: ‘We are really grateful for all the donations of food from local people. We hope the new fundraising campaign will provide the extra funds needed for the summer holiday scheme and to provide for essentials like milk and nappies that we buy every month. This means that the most vulnerable in our society can be supported through a time of crisis.’

The Just Giving page for the foodbank appeal can be found at www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/okefoodbank