Demand for food parcels from a Hucknall food bank has rocketed by a staggering 26 per cent in the last 12 months.
Between January and March, 2016, 53 food parcels were handed out per month by the volunteers based at Under One Roof, on Vine Terrace.
A year later, over the same period, the figure was 67 per month.
Organiser Ed Rippon, said: “It has really increased. A lot more people are struggling.”
People are referred to the food bank by organisations such as the Citizens Advice Bureau, or the Broomhill Support Project, as well as by doctors, probation officers and social workers
Ed attributes the rise to a variety of reasons: “Some people are having a hard time after being made redundant, or having benefit sanctions, or coming off one benefit and going on to another.
“Some people are on low wages or zero hour contracts.”
Donations come from schools, individual people, as well as the Womens’ Institutes and local community groups and firms like Rolls Royce, Specsavers and Tesco.
“Lots of people have been really generous and they’re really kind,” he said.
“For some people it the first time they have ever had to go to a food bank, so they’re apprehensive and a bit embarrassed.
“But people are always appreciative.”
Ed, 45, of Hucknall, was an industrial chemist who worked in a lab before he was made redundant in 2012 and decided to become a photographer.
He started volunteering once a month and took over when Nigel and Eileen Smith, who had run the food bank “for years”, retired, he took over.
“People are struggling to make ends meet. We give them a little bit of food to make their lives a bit better,” he said.
“We also ask clients if they are running short of toiletries and we put those in as well.”
Not all of the volunteers, who donate “quite a lot of time” are members of Churches Together.
While thanking everyone for the food they have donated, Ed is also appealing for more.
He said: “Recently we have had to buy a lot more. People can bring it down to Under One Roof on Monday mornings.
“But it has to be non-perishable. We can’t give anything out that’s fresh.”
What does he get out of volunteering?
“We do have times when people bring in presents.
“At Christmas you are able to give out gifts to families. And you know they are not going to get many presents.
“Later the mum will come in and say - “That’s just what my daughter wanted.”
“It’s a really good feeling. And it is good to know that people have a little more on the table.
“It does make a difference. And that’s what does it for us.”