A FOOD bank is calling for more donations, and not just at Christmas as more people face unemployment.

Abingdon Food Bank works in partnership with Trussel Trust and this Christmas it has prepared hundreds of special Christmas parcels for those in need.

The food bank has 40 volunteers and is open two days a week at Christ Church in Northcourt and once a week at Preston Road Community Centre in Abingdon.

Hilary Beale has been volunteering for the Abingdon Food Bank for 10 years, and recently she has seen food bank referrals from the job centre increase.

She said: "It is going up, a large number of referrals are from the job centre, they used to be referring a bit but now they are our main referrer. It is worrying, it is something which is an issue nationally because people's work situation is so precarious, and it is not going to change for some people for a long time."

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She added: "People should be putting pressure on the Government to increase the benefit allowance. I would like to help people get out of this poverty issue and not have to come to us for food, and that is the mission of the Trussell Trust."

However, with a rise in demand there has also been a huge amount of donations for this years' Christmas parcels.

Mrs Beale said: "We have had some fantastic donations and they are still coming in and we have had a large number of people coming to us. We have done 250 special Christmas parcels for people who have been referred to us and we have about 50 families who come each week for general food parcels."

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Herald Series: Aga Cancan, food bank coordinator and Volunteer Barry Greenaway at Abingdon Food Bank.Picture by Rebecca Whittaker

Volunteers at the food bank want to make sure these donations continue throughout the year.

She said: "People have been really generous, we have been a bit overwhelmed with mince pies, so everybody coming here is going to get a double ration of mince pies."

She added: "We need people to continue to donate throughout the year, we need food coming in regularly."

Mrs Beale said donations of UHT milk, tinned vegetables, toiletries, and cleaning items are needed and can be donated directly to the food bank.

The food bank also works with the Abingdon Larder and Abingdon community fridge.

The Abingdon fridge can be found at Hadland Road Community Centre. The aim of the fridge is to avoid food waste and to make sure the surplus food goes to those who need it, without needing a referral for the food bank.

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