At St Patrick's soup kitchen they have had to reconfigure how they hand out their food, taking it now to the street and serving it there.

They are giving out over 400 hot meals a week, compared to around 100 before Covid-19.

Team leader Paul McCusker told us of one man who visited the soup kitchen in the last few days who hadn't eaten a hot meal in a week.

Team leader Paul McCusker.

Over at the west Belfast food bank they too are striving to meet rising demands.

Volunteer Ann Marie McKee said she's concerned about the impact of returning normality, once emergency schemes run out and furlough ends.

"I'm on the frontline, I see the tears, I see the struggle and I don't think people realise, I don't know if the government realises."

Poverty is an escalating problem, with soaring numbers struggling. Universal Credit claims soared by 80% four weeks into lockdown.

Ann Marie McKee collects a delivery for the food bank in west Belfast.

A Department for Communities food box scheme has been just one of the government responses that swung into action. Over 115 thousand boxes have been given out so far.

Many we spoke to in the sector are asking what will happen after that is due to run its course at the end of June.

The Department has said it is reviewing it and that Minister Deirdre Hargey will soon decide what to do.

It comes as sector leaders plead for the most marginalised to be a priority, not a last thought.