A FOOD charity based in Radcliffe has issued an urgent appeal for donations after a surge in demand left its warehouse shelves bare.

Organisers at Porch Boxes say that, during the past two years, benefit sanctions and delays have placed unprecedented pressure on its services

Last year, the volunteer-run group delivered 4,733 of its crisis food and toiletry packs to families in Bury, Bolton, Oldham and Rochdale, the highest figure in its history and a 50 per cent increase on 2012.

The increase has meant demand has now outstripped the supply of goods donated by its supporters and the charity now has to buy stock for the packs.

Porch Boxes chairman Julia Rowlands said: “People have always been very supportive of what we do and donated generously, but over the past two years we have seen the number of people finding themselves in crisis increasing substantially.

“Now, we find ourselves with an empty warehouse and in need of more donations.”

The charity is asking generous residents to help restock their shelves by donating non-perishable food items, such as tinned foods, pasta, and rice.

All foodstuffs should be within their use-by dates and donations can be left at St Stephen’s CE Primary School, in Colville Drive, Bury, as well as the borough’s libraries.

Several retailers in Bury also collect for the charity, including Asda stores in Spring Street and Pilsworth Road, and the Co-Operative, in Mile Lane.

The Kings Arms pub in Salford, owned by musician and Porch Boxes supporter Paul Heaton, will also be collecting donations.

The Radcliffe Times reported earlier this month that more than half of the families turning to Porch Boxes for help had done so because of problems with the benefits system.

In 2014, Porch Boxes handed out nearly 400 crisis packs every month and since its founding in 2001, the charity has helped more than 42,000 families in need.

What should you donate?

  • Tinned foods: meat, fish, fruit, ravioli, spaghetti, beans, potatoes, puddings etc
  • Packets of noodles, past and sauce and savoury rice
  • Bottles of Squash
  • Cup - a- soup
  • Tea, coffee, drinking chocolate
  • Pasta, rice, noodles
  • Tomatoes
  • Cereals
  • Jams and spreads
  • Biscuits
  • Sugar
  • Toothpaste and tooth brushes