Truro Foodbank has seen demand for food parcels more than double in the past year with working households topping the user poll for the first time.
The charity, which has more than 100 food parcel outlets in and around Truro, fed nearly 1,500 adults and almost 700 children in 2013, a 106 per cent increase on the 2012 figures.
Now, for the first time since it opened in 2009, working households on low incomes have become the largest economic group to use food parcels, outnumbering individuals on befits or in debt.
Malcolm Henderson, chair of the Truro Foodbank management committee, said: “Nationally and locally is it worrying to see that the majority of people coming for help are now referred on the ground of ‘low income’, closely followed by ‘benefit changes’.
“This has been taken up nationally by the [Trussell] trust and by Archbishop Justin Welby, resulting in a House of Commons debate questioning why, in a developed country, there is such an increase in food poverty.”
Truro Foodbank is run through the charitably organisation, the Trussell Trust, which back a network of similar food banks throughout the country.
Individuals who are referred to the charity are given a 3 day supply of non-perishable food which will usually include UHT or powdered milk, cereal, tinned beans, tinned soup and dried pasta.
Bob Girvan, manager of Truro Foodbank said: “A lot of people are getting the wrong impression that it is a load of scroungers using the food bank, but that is not true.
“The people we have are referred from various agencies including social services and quite a lot are embarrassed to come in.
“We give them food to see them through the crisis and generally speaking they will see us 3 to 4 times.”
Fortunately the increased demand has been matched by an increase in volunteers and donations at supermarkets and local drop-off points.
Mr Girvan added: “The generosity of the people of Truro is unbelievable. We had 26 tonnes of food donated to us last year – now that is fantastic.
The manager predicts that Truro Foodbank will see a less dramatic increase people needing food parcels next year and hopes that one day there will be no need for the charity’s services in Truro.
He said: “I always say, when we are not needed we have succeeded.”