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Cornish foodbank says 'there are children out there starving'

The area has 5 neighbourhoods amongst the most deprived in the country. Photo: ITV West Country

Children are starving in Cornwall according to a foodbank in the region.

The service for Camborne Pool and Redruth says hundreds of families are now relying on them, because they can't afford to buy basic meals.

The area has 5 neighbourhoods amongst the most deprived in the country.

The foodbank says it is now handing out over 10 thousand meals every month.

10,000
meals are being handed out by the Camborne Pool and Redruth foodbank each month
Foodbanks rely on volunteers to sort and distribute food. Credit: ITV West Country

Jacob is paying his first visit to a foodbank.

He says he has been out of work long term because of illness and a gap in benefit payments has pushed him to crisis point.

There's times when you can't eat and that, and you just have to wait until your next benefit comes through.

– Jacob

Jacob says without access to the foodbank he could have ended up drifting into crime.

You might end up shoplifting at the worst or something even worse, don't know you just don't know really. It's a big struggle I think a lot of the time.

– Jacob
Jacob says illness and a gap in benefit payments have affected his income. Credit: ITV West Country

Donovan Gardner who works at the foodbank says it is heart breaking to see children and other people lose hope.

We know there are children out there starving and that really does hurt, you know we get children in here and they see some sweets which have been given to us and they fall on them as if they've never seen sweets before.

We've had ladies and men come in here tears running down their face and said I've never done this before. I've worked for forty years and I've suddenly got made redundant and they stand there with a voucher in their hand and they're almost afraid to think that we're going to give them the third degree. Instead we're just here to love and care for them.

– Donovan Gardner, CPR Foodbank
Mr Gardner says children fall on sweets Credit: ITV West Country

Delays in benefit payments can be a factor in people needing foodbanks.

Mr Gardner says more needs to be done to help people before they become dependent on foodbanks.

I think the welfare state needs to get down to the shop floor level and if you help people early on, they won't get in such a state.

The benefit system in my opinion kicks in too late, and some of the problems are already there.

– Donovan Gardner, CPR Foodbank
Many foodbanks display posters showing where to go for financial advice. Credit: ITV West Country

The foodbank says it is overwhelmed with fresh goods from supermarkets but donations of tins have dwindled.

This mean it has had to cut back on what it gives out.

Foodbanks appreciate tinned donations as they last longer than fresh food. Credit: ITV West Country

The former Bishop of Truro has spent years highlighting the issue of poverty in the region.

The Rt Rev Tim Thornton co-chaired a national inquiry into hunger and food poverty - which became known as the Feeding Britain report.

He says the rise in foodbank use is a sign that community spirit is not as strong as it used to be.

As I said in the foreward to that Feeding Britain report which I think is still the case, that I worry about the kind of 'glue' that used to hold the society together is either disappearing or has disappeared. And so the reality is we shouldn't need food banks in this country. It's ridiculous that we should have food banks in the 21st century.

– Rt Rev Tim Thornton, Bishop at Lambeth