A RECORD number of people were forced to rely on North Cotswold Foodbank in April to avoid going hungry.

Volunteers at the foodbank have witnessed a staggering rise since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, with a large numbers of families in crisis having to resort to emergency food parcels to survive.

According to statistics released by the foodbank, they saw a record 145 percent increase in the number of 3-day emergency food parcels handed out during the month compared with April 2019.

And the number of parcels going to children increased by 150 percent compared to last year.

Kevin Carden, project manager at North Cotswold Foodbank said the figures reflect what is happening around the UK during the pandemic.

He said: "As you will no doubt have seen in the news, a record number of people have been using foodbanks during the last few months, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to impact people’s incomes and circumstances.

"Fortunately, we have been able to keep all of our outlets and the store open as usual, although we have had to make a few changes to the way we work in order to adhere to government guidelines regarding social distancing and health and hygiene.

"This is in no small way due to the amazing response from our volunteers who have worked tirelessly to keep our centres open.

"At the store, we have been so busy that we now have 3-4 shifts per week instead of just one to cope with all the extra food coming in and parcels going out.

"I also want to take this opportunity to say a massive thank-you to everyone who donated food or money during the last few months.

"We have been overwhelmed by the generosity of the local community and it is this support which has meant we have been able to meet the rising demand for our help from people who have turned to us as they are unable to afford food.

"Finally, it’s great that the government has taken note of Marcus Rashford, who highlighted his own experience of child poverty, and changed its mind on the provision of school meal vouchers over the summer holidays.

"This will make a massive difference to many families and will take the pressure off foodbanks like ours."

If you would like to donate food, there are a number of collection points across the Cotswolds.

For more information, visit https://northcotswold.foodbank.org.uk