Food banks in Kent see more people using service

Food banks in Kent say they have seen a sharp rise in the number of people coming to them for help in the run-up to Christmas.

One centre in Canterbury said it was running out of space to store its food, while volunteers in Ashford are opening a new distribution centre.

Medway food bank said the number of people it fed had risen from 79 in August to 177 in November.

It estimated that about 200 people would visit the centre in December.

A spokesman said: "We are in discussions with community leaders to open two more centres early next year."

Budgets 'eaten away'

Mark Reece, director of the Ashford food bank, said: "We are starting hear stories from our clients about winter bills and how they are struggling to pay them."

In 20111/12 almost 130,000 people were helped by food banks across the country.

The Trussell Trust works with churches and community groups to open new food banks and is aiming to have at least one in every town.

Mark Ward, head of fundraising at the trust, said: "There are more people registered as poor who have someone working in the household, than don't.

"Low wages and lack of overtime have 'eaten away' at household budgets.

"The period leading up to Christmas is busier than ever this year."

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