THE number of struggling families who rely on the help of a food cupboard in West Somerset has almost doubled in the past year, say organisers.

And the growing pressure means it is having to buy more food to meet demand.

Christine Payne, co-ordinator West Somerset Food Cupboard in Minehead, said it has sent out more than 650 food parcels this year.

This compared to 395 for the same period last year – and, with the summer holidays approaching, demand will continue to rise, she said.

“The pressure on the food cupboard continues to rise and we are now helping to feed more people who are in work rather than those out of work,” she said.

“I think people assume that during the summer months the need dies down but that is far from the case.

“During the holidays the children are at home and that means they aren’t getting free school meals at lunchtime, which means more mouths to feed. It can be very scary for parents.”

The Food Cupboard started in 2007 in Alcombe to help single mums but as volunteers realised the need was much greater, it has grown steadily.

Christine, who worked as a childcare adviser for West Somerset, Social Services and in education, said the situation was very worrying.

She said: “It can be soul destroying for these people who are working so hard to try and provide for their families and know that it isn’t enough.

“We are very lucky in West Somerset because the people here are so generous – there’s a real community spirit here. “But we are having to buy in a lot of food in order to meet demand.”

The Food Cupboard has been running roadshow cookery workshops, helping residents across West Somerset.

Christine added: “These were very successful and we’ll be looking to run some more in the autumn.

“Even just one tin of food can make such a difference to someone’s life.”

  • Donations can be made to St Michael’s Church in Alcombe where the Food Cupboard operates from.
  •  Love Williton is holding a collection at Williton Co-op in August – check the County Gazette for the date next week