A RECORD number of families are turning to Mid Cheshire Foodbank for survival.

More than 1,000 people were fed in the first three weeks of December 2020, latest figures reveal.

"Last Thursday we had our busiest day ever," said Winsford Town Cllr Nathan Pardoe and member of Cheshire West and Chester Council, who is also a foodbank trustee and volunteer.

"We've already fed more people from the start of the 2020/21 financial year to date than the entire 2019/20 financial year. The scale is unprecedented, it has roughly doubled due to Covid-19."

Illness, redundancy and delays in benefit payments have contributed towards the crisis.

Yet, most of the people seeking help are working, of all ages and come from all walks of life.

"It can happen to anyone," said Cllr Pardoe. "We have professional people and a cross section of society. There isn't one foodbank user.

"Most people work but simply don't have enough money because of the cost of living. Some have multiple jobs and can manage bills and essentials but food falls away. It is not their fault."

Thankfully, generosity from the local community has more than met the soaring demand.

Cllr Pardoe added:"The pandemic is overwhelmingly negative but in Winsford and Northwich it has brought out the best in people, an outpouring of food and financial donations.

"Without support from the community it wouldn't work."

Desserts, soap and toothpaste are requested this week as toiletries, soap powder and pet food are required as well as food for people who are struggling.

Anyone in need is urged to seek help early.

"If you are struggling don't leave it until there have been days since you had a proper meal," said Cllr Pardoe."There is food available for anybody who needs it, nobody needs to go hungry.

"The referral process isn't difficult or invasive. People here are friendly. We want to restore dignity.

"We always try to signpost and support people, make sure they are receiving things they are entitled to.

"We want to help people beyond the food crisis."

Volunteers are needed to do a range of jobs not just distributing food.

"We can fit in with what people want to do," said Cllr Pardoe. "It's a good time for people to come forward as some of our volunteers are now shielding.

"People can work from home and help with admin.I became a volunteer because I wanted to give something back."

To donate or volunteer visit midcheshire.foodbank.org.uk. Food can be dropped off at many local supermarkets.