Cash-strapped families struggling to put meals on the table have been offered a lifeline with the opening of a new foodbank.
The new service, at Temple Lawn Community Centre in Rothwell, is the seventh launched by Leeds South Foodbank in the city since October.
Leeds City Councillor Karen Bruce (chair of the Outer South Community Committee) led calls for the facility after residents warned many families in the area were in crisis.
She said: “There are pockets of deprivation in our neighbourhoods and many have felt the effects of the recent recession and other factors such as payday lenders, which have seen some people suffering real hardship.
“Local schools and community groups have raised concerns about the needs of many families and I know from my case work how some people are really struggling.”
She added: “It is unbelievable that such a facility is needed in areas like Rothwell but that is the current reality.
“It’s there for people if they need it and I’m really pleased that it’s there for people in Rothwell.”
The YEP revealed that thousands of residents have been forced to turn to their local foodbank for emergency food parcels because their cupboards were bare.
More than 250 children across Leeds needed emergency food to stop them going to bed hungry over the first THREE weeks of the summer holidays.
And around 4,000 kilos of food have been distributed to desperate people struggling to make ends meet, since the Yorkshire Evening Post launched its Feed A Family campaign last month.
Linda Jackson, project manager for Leeds South Foodbank, said the service in Rothwell was expected to be one of the organisation’s busiest, adding: “We expect it to be as busy as Belle Isle – providing food to an average of 50 people a week, sometimes as many as 80.”
The city’s four Trussell Trust foodbanks were expecting demand to soar this summer because youngsters who receive school meals need to be fed at home.
The YEP is urging organisations and individuals to donate food to support families over the summer.
Coun Karen Bruce is backing the campaign, saying: “Just by putting an extra item in your basket at the supermarket and donating it, you won’t feel it at the checkout but it will make a huge difference to people that need it.”
Demand in Leeds South is so high the foodbank plans to open two more sites in Cottingley and Beeston. Food donations for south Leeds can be made at Middleton Methodist Church on Wed from 9.30am to 4pm.