AN OLTON foodbank that was on the brink of closure last Christmas is once again appealing for donations to help families as the cost of living crisis hits deeper.
With only £600 in the coffer, bills due and no donations coming in – Community Essentials Foodbank looked like it would have to turn down requests from 125 families last year.
But thanks to the kindness of Silhillians a Christmas miracle happened.
Donations, both financial and food flooded through the doors at the Warwick Road hub so staff and volunteers could help bring a smile to those in need.
Stephen Palmer, who helped found the voluntary organisation, said: ” As Christmas came and went, we were inundated with donations, which really kept us going and helped us well into the new year.
“We made plans to try and boost donations and awareness, but unfortunately we were fighting against the ever growing financial crisis, meaning, every time we ramped up our efforts to raise donations, we were counteracted with the crisis ramping up too.
“Throughout this year, it has been mostly the same, we have been chasing our tail trying to stay afloat.”
Determined to keep their service the same and not restrict numbers or food parcel requests Comminity Essentials is once again calling on kind-hearted Silhillians to give what they can.
Stephen said around 180 food parcels are being handed out every week at present and each one potentially has three to four people relying on it.
He added: “Stock is really low. Donations are back to an all time low after the short burst last Christmas due to publicity, yet demand is as high as we have ever seen.
“Christmas is usually the busiest time of year, but this is unprecedented.
“We do not know how long we can keep up with the demand.
“We are trying to keep spirits high and provide the best help we can, with what resources we have.
“Into the new year we are meeting another rise of the energy price cap… this is bound to increase demand further.”
This year Community Essential also set up a Pet Food Bank in partnership with Pets at Home Solihull and Blue Cross, meaning they collect and distribute pet food and supplies to those in need, to help keep animals out of shelters, and with their owners.
Food donation can be dropped off to the Warwick Road unit Monday to Friday between 9.30am and 11.30am – contacting Community Essential is a must before doing this – or at one of the collection points in the borough.
Stephen said if people cannot donate, even engagement and sharing of social media posts will go a long way in spreading awareness, not only to attract potential donors, but also people who may need help.
For more, to see a list of collection points or to give a financial donation click here.