THE number of families needing food parcels has more than quadrupled over the last year, new figures reveal.
The Brick, in Arcade Street, has supplied 4,545 boxes full of tinned goods, rice, cereals, pasta and sauces, to people struggling to afford to eat over the last 12 months, compared with 941 in 2012.
A food container is for one person and contains nine meals made up of three breakfasts, three main meals and three snack meals plus toiletries, tea or coffee and snack extras when available.
For families, they receive a package for each person over six years old and young children receive half the amount.
A parcel, which costs around £15 each, is issued when a referral is received from a supporting agency or when a service user who The Brick is working with has a crisis.
Trish Green, founder, said: “Our aim is to meet three days’ basic food needs of people in crisis across the borough.
“Once we have identified people who are struggling, we will work hard to improve their quality of life.
“We will work closely with local organisations and agencies to reach out and help feed the hidden working poor; people on low incomes; those with social difficulties; residents with mental health issues, the elderly and the homeless.
“We operate an equal opportunities policy and we will not turn anyone in real need away.
“Our aim is to meet the immediate needs of those referred to us and of our clients, to establish the root cause of their crisis and determine how we can best help them to resolve these issues.
“We work in partnership with other agencies and faith groups signposting service users to other support groups in Wigan or Leigh in order to be of as much benefit to them as possible. We also offer training for debt and tenancy issues which people can sign up to.
“It is our intention that the issuing of emergency food will help an existing situation and in no way enable any form of dysfunctional or destructive behaviour.
“We also closely monitor all situations so as not to create dependency on the food bank or on any other service that is provided.”
The pick up points for people who have a referral form only are:
l The Brick, 10 Arcade Street Wigan, Monday to Friday from 1.30pm until 4.30pm
l Westfield Children’s Centre, Westfield Community School, Montrose Avenue, Mondays from 10.30am until noon.
l Standish Methodist Church, High Street, Standish, Thursdays from 10am until noon
l Trinity Methodist Church, 14 Fleet Street, Pemberton, Thursdays, between 1pm and 2pm
l Bryn Independent Methodist Church, Downall Green Road, Bryn, Thursdays from 2pm until 3pm.
The borough also has four other registered food banks – Compassion in Action, in Lowton, The Atherton and Leigh Trussell Trust, Ashton Churches Together and The Stonehouse Project, in Billinge.
Compassion in Action provides bags of tinned goods to people who are referred through agencies and also provides hot meal at its community cafe in Leigh.
Atherton and Leigh Foodbank, which runs three distribution centres, hands out two or three kettle or cold boxes to people each week.