AS many of us return to work following an Easter of excess, the Oxfordshire Community Foundation is urging people to help the county’s growing number of families and children who spend Easter, and every day, hungry.
Rising food costs, benefit problems or just falling on hard times can mean families find themselves with empty cupboards and no means of affording food.
At the Community Emergency Foodbank (CEF), based at St Francis Church in Hollow Way, Cowley, the number of families looking for help is rising each month.
CEF founder Jane Benyon, 65, said: “Christmas was busy with 140 families turning to us for help in the four hours we open each week. But then last month we fed 175.
“Because lots of people are having their benefits changed, they are having to wait up to six weeks until their new benefits start.
“This is leaving many of them literally penniless for that time.
“As a result we are seeing hungry children, and parents who are sick and poorly because they are going without food to feed their little ones.
“One young woman looked very ill and said she had terrible headaches and it was obvious she was going without food to give it to her little girl – it really is alarming.”
The Community Emergency Foodbank is one of hundreds of charities and community groups which are set to benefit from the Oxfordshire Jubilee Fund.
Run by the Oxfordshire Community Fundation, the fund aims to provide a lasting memorial of the Queen’s 60-year reign.
Chief executive Jayne Woodley said: “It is a sad fact of life that a growing number of people across Oxfordshire are going to bed hungry, many of them children, and it is not just the homeless or the destitute who are suffering in this way.
“As food prices rise, hard working families on low incomes are turning to food banks for vital help.
“We hope that our Jubilee Fund will support food banks across the county and provide local people with proper meals to keep them healthy and nourished.”
Mrs Benyon added: “Any donation from the Jubilee Fund would be a fabulous bonus for us.
“We have never run out of food yet, but we need all the help we can get.”
To fundraise or donate to the Jubilee Fund, email firstname.lastname@example.org, call 01865 798666, or drop into OCF’s offices at 3 Woodins Way, Oxford. Alternatively, donate by texting JBLE 12 to 70070 with a donation. To apply for Jubilee Fund cash, visit oxfordshire.org