THE numbers of people depending on food banks in Neath is soaring.
More and more families in Neath Port Talbot are struggling to put food on the table.
Shocking figures from Neath’s food bank, based at Orchard Place Baptist Church, reveal that in December 439 people were recipients of food — 157 of those were children.
In January 316 people received food. In total the town centre food bank has provided vital aid to more than 4,500 people since opening in 2011.
The figures come as plans are revealed for a second food bank in the area to be set up — in Glynneath.
Project co-ordinator in Neath Yvonne Davies said the demand is out there. “A second food bank would certainly ease the pressure,” she said. “The figures are on the increase on a monthly basis. We are getting more and more agencies on board with the food vouchers.”
Chairman Stephen Ryan said there is still a “heavy demand”.
He said: “The figures are high but it varies from week to week. It was particularly busy over Christmas.
“Some weeks we have to buy things from the supermarket.
“We are getting in donations but we always need more.
“I think like in many areas in Wales, and especially in the valley areas, people are going through tough times. But people are responding very generously.”
Since September in 2011 churches from across the town have been busy collecting tonnes of non-perishable food for the bank which is operated by Christian charity Trussell Trust.
Glynneath Town Council has given its support to plans to bring a food bank to the town.
Councillor Del Morgan said they will support the venture and will consider if they were able to make a donation in future.
Councillor Janet Gregory said: “You should visit one of these food banks, it is an eye opener.”
This year’s annual food bank concert will be held at Orchard Place Church on Saturday, March 29.
Neath Food Bank is open Tuesdays and Fridays from 2pm to 4pm.