Feeding a family: Charity sees level of demand rise as crisis rages

Good Shepherd Managing Director Tom Hayden helps in the kitchen with volunteers Elsie Hawthorne and Pam Smith

The cost of living crisis has seen more people than ever turn to food banks and other services for help as they begin to struggle to find enough money to pay household bills. electricity and food.

The Good Shepherd, in Wolverhampton, has worked for over 50 years to support the homeless and those in need across the city, providing hot meals and food parcels, as well as housing support, finance and mental health.

Now, as the colder months begin to approach, CEO Tom Hayden said there has already been a surge in the number of people coming to the service over the past few months and explained how the Good Shepherd is trying to help them.

He said: “Unfortunately we’ve been saying this for a while, even before this crisis started, that people are really struggling in the city, with a 10% increase in families and new people coming to see us, which was a concern.

“However, over the last couple of weeks we have noticed a huge increase in people coming in for dietary advice and basic support, so we have been working with local authorities on this as it has been a huge priority for they.

“They’re looking at household support fund resources and we’re just doing our best to meet people’s needs, with many worried about the ripple effects of homelessness and the impact on mental health at some point. hard.”

Mr Hayden said he had seen more people from the private hire sector come to Good Shepherd for help, many struggling to ensure they could afford food and utility costs, while others sought help with fuel vouchers.

He said the Good Shepherd had to make its own changes to deal with the increases, including seeing utility costs double to run the service, and said it would be a difficult time for the service.

“We have to kind of estimate how much it will cost to bulk buy food to do, and see an increase in what we can do with food deliveries.

“Luckily we have really good support from the general public and local authorities, who are looking at how we can increase our resources, but we have seen a huge increase in demand.

“There’s also been a hit in people’s ability to donate and support us with food and finance and that’s diminished, so it’s almost a perfect storm for charities.

“I would say if people are really struggling, we can help them by directing them to other services and our own support, and if people can support us financially or with food, then fantastic, but if it’s please get help if you need it.”

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