THE manager of Whitchurch Foodbank says he is looking at the positives despite an increase in usage of the service throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

Alan Scutt’s comments come following a recent report that dozens of emergency food parcels were handed out to children in Shropshire every week during the first six months of the pandemic.

He reports that in April the number of people using the foodbank was around five times higher than the same period for 2019.

Although that figure has decreased somewhat, it still remains higher than usual.

“We saw at the very early stage in April and May we were getting on for five times as many people using the foodbank,” he said.

“That has balanced back a bit and we’re probably three times up from same period last year.”

Alan says that although there has been an increase, extra pressure on the service has been tempered by an increase in resources.

“That’s quite some amount, but you’ve also got to put in context that we’ve had incredible donations of food and money,” added Alan.

“We’re so thankful for the food that we’ve received, something like eight tonnes of food in that period.

“That is an enormous amount of generosity.

“Normally we cant get free fruit and veg as we haven’t the ability to store it.

“But the way in which we’ve been operating, we have people send in the referrals for the day before so now we know how many people we’re feeding the next day.

“We also recently got a grant from Unicef to buy fresh fruit and veg.

“So it’s putting a lot more pressure on us, but it’s been amazing the amount of support we’ve had from out volunteers, many who were told at the beginning couldn’t help.”

Social-distancing restrictions have also changed the way the foodbank operates.

“We deliver everything now, we volunteers who take the food direct to the client,” Alan added.

“It’s been a success story, its’s been a tough time for lots of people and we’ve been doing everything we can to ease the pressure on families.

“It’s always sad to say you have a foodbank that’s running but I’m glad to offer help.”