A RECORD number of families and individuals are struggling to feed themselves.

Pleas for help at Mid Cheshire Foodbank doubled during the pandemic and it is feared demand will rise even higher in 2022.

Looking back on the past year, the charity wants to thank volunteers, supermarkets, schools, businesses and the public for their continued support.

In the week before Christmas, emergency supplies trebled to meet the soaring demand.

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Mid Cheshire Foodbank provides a lifeline for families in crisis

Mid Cheshire Foodbank provides a lifeline for families in crisis

But volunteers stress there is always plenty of food available and urge people in need to seek help as soon as possible.

Winsford mayor Cllr Nathan Pardoe, a foodbank trustee and volunteer, said: "There is always food for anyone who needs it. If you are struggling, please don't leave it until there have been days since you had a proper meal.

"Seeking help is very simple. It is just an informal chat and no questions will be asked about why you are here.

"It can happen to anyone.

"When you put that extra tin of beans in your trolley it could help someone you know, a neighbour or relative."

Most people seeking help are working.

Fresh food is donated by supermarkets

Fresh food is donated by local supermarkets

"It is a big misconception that the foodbank only helps the unemployed," said Cllr Pardoe. "The majority are in work and can manage for a few weeks but just run out of money.

"Some parents have gone without so their kids can eat. Even with two or three jobs, they can't manage. They blame themselves but it is not their fault that wages are not keeping up with inflation and other pressures."

People of all ages and all walks of life are being given a lifeline.

"We expect to be busier next year," said Cllr Pardoe. "Safety nets have gone after getting rid of the Universal Credit uplift.

Winsford mayor Cllr Nathan Pardoe, who is a foodbank trustee and volunteer

Winsford mayor Cllr Nathan Pardoe, a foodbank trustee and volunteer

"Energy prices are going up further. The worry is it will get worse before it gets better.

"But our team is always willing to go the extra mile for anyone that needs it."

Volunteers are always appreciated.

"If you've got some time to spare, you can do as much or as little as you are able," said Cllr Pardoe.

"I have always wanted to help. It is a privilege, you can make such a difference."

To seek help call Cheshire West and Chester Council help team on 0300 123 7065, Citizens Advice in the Community on 07894 238963 or Cllr Nathan Pardoe on 07917 754771.

To donate or volunteer visit midcheshire.foodbank.org.uk

Food can be dropped off at local supermarkets including Asda and Morrisons in Wisnford and Asda, Sainsbury's, Tesco and Waitrose in Northwich.