WEST Somerset Food Cupboard has seen demand soar to the point where it has been running out of boxes for the food parcels to go in.

The Food Cupboard is sending out 10 times as many parcels as when it first started in 2011.

Jill Bray has been a volunteer with the Food Cupboard for nearly five years and says the organisation has never been busier.

"We pack food parcels which are then distributed by community organisations to people they know to be in need but recently the demand has shot up," Mrs Bray said.

"We were packing 20 parcels a week at the start of the year for the West Somerset Advice Bureau but this week alone we have packed 53 for them," she said.

The Food Cupboard packed another 30 parcels for the Hope Centre, 22 for the YMCA and 12 for Homestart in the same week.

When the Food Cupboard was first set up in 2011, the team put together 223 parcels. The following year this more than doubled to 563, and again in 2013 to 1,149.

In 2016 the Food Cupboard sent out 2,136 parcels, and chairman of the West Somerset Food Cupboard sub-committee Lyn Edwards says the organisation is on course to top that number this year.

Mr Edwards said: "We also top up parcels with staple foods using monetary donations, this can be about £200 a week. Each food box has roughly £40 worth of food in, which means since the start of this year more than £80,000 worth of food has been distributed.

"We have been overwhelmed by how much food has been brought in too, and want to whole-heartedly thank everyone for their donations. The churches are excellent donating every week, we pick up trolleys full of food which are donated in Tesco in Minehead, and the Co-op in Dulverton has become a big contributor too, plus we always do well from the school harvests. I even had one couple who have opted to spend the money they would have spent on Christmas presents for each other on a donation to the Food Cupboard.

"We have got a brilliant team who work exceptionally hard, especially this time of year. One lady who comes in is nearly 93 but comes in every Monday morning."

Mr Edwards said the Food Cupboard would appreciate donations of peas, carrots and potatoes, fruit juice, long life milk, tea, coffee and savoury things like cereal bars.

"We also welcome more volunteers, especially if there is anyone who is happy and comfortable doing lifting," Mr Edwards said.

The Food Cupboard is based at Alcombe Methodist Church, and there are early discussions being held about setting up a Watchet and Williton Foodbank.