TAUNTON FoodBank helped nearly 1000 residents thanks to nine tons of food donations received in December but they expect a further increase in figures for the rest of this winter.

Last month, staff at the food bank said they were expecting “one of the busiest Christmases” and in fact, food donations from the public reached 9,211 kg, while 324 food boxes were handed out to clients, which meant 909 clients fed.

Sue Weightman, Taunton FoodBank manager, said several factors contributed to an increase in the figures around Christmas.

She said an increase in bills, fuel, and issues around Universal Credit all played a part and created the “perfect storm” for some customers.

She said: “It’s almost the figures from two years ago, we are back to the figures for 2019 which was a horrendous year. It’s what we were expecting.

“I am expecting figures to increase in the next three months. It’s a little bit of the perfect storm with bills going up, fuel crisis, and universal credit issues. It’s just one thing too many for some our customers.”

Ms Weightman, however, also explained how supportive the community has been so far and praised the “incredible” help the food bank received.

She said: “We have a good amount of stock. People in our area are just very generous, there’s a real community spirit and donations have not dipped at all. This is the real strength for our area.

“We will have no issues but we will have to increase my volunteers’ team.

“The support has been incredible, both in food donation and financially. We are supported in a fantastic way at the FoodBank.”

Due to Covid cases, the FoodBank is currently operating with a click and collect system.

For more information visit taunton.foodbank.org.uk or call 07761 624 216.