Hampshire food parcel charity 'maxed out' by pleas for help

  • ITV Meridian's Kerry Swain reports

A Hampshire charity, which provides food parcels for people who cannot afford to feed themselves, is reporting a record number of families in crisis.

The New Life Foundation, based in Emsworth, says referrals to its services have tripled since the summer.

They're providing 200 households with a Christmas hamper this year.

James Robert's wife is currently being treated for cancer.

He said: "I'm currently caring for my wife and my three children.

"So I am unable to work at the moment and obviously with the cost of everything going up, this was a Godsend.

James Roberts has had to give up work to care for his sick wife Credit: ITV Meridian

"At first I was a bit wary of receiving, because I didn't want to feel how I felt really. It was a bit of a shock. And what we received was quite a lot - it was about six bags of stuff - so it was amazing."

James is so grateful for the help he's receiving he's joined a team of 40 volunteers packing parcels for others.

Esther Ellis from the New Life Foundation said: "It's really just snowballed.

"So even last week our numbers were at 87.

"We were going to 87 households with Christmas dinner hampers. But by the Friday morning the numbers had shot up to nearly 200.

The New Life Foundation's also giving out Christmas presents Credit: ITV Meridian

"This week alone over £2000 worth of donations are going out through our food hampers.

"Lidl and Aldi give us lots of supplies and UK Harvest and the local churches and the local schools. But on top of all the donations that have come in, we're spending £2000 this week to buy enough food to be able to support our families."

It's not just food being provided to struggling households, Christmas presents are also being delivered.

Volunteer Victoria Macey said: "I've just recently had a call from a lady who's had the bailiffs come to her house.

"They've taken everything apart from the presents. They've taken the sofa, they've taken the Christmas tree, they've taken the television.

Victoria Macey says they need more donations to cope with demand Credit: ITV Meridian

"We are at a critical point now.

"We are maxed out on deliveries and the amount of food we can buy... but I can't say no... because you can't say no to people when they're desperate."

The 500 strong congregation at New Life Christian Church are committed to reaching people in need, and will even post supermarket vouchers to families outside their delivery area which stretches from Havant to Bosham.

But they need more donations so they can keep up with demand.