The number of children fed by Larne Foodbank in the run-up to Christmas has more than doubled in the past year, it has emerged.
The local charity, designed to help those who are struggling to feed themselves and their families, has been inundated with requests as people struggle to cope with the cost of the festive season.
And new figures provided by the organisation have revealed that the number of people in Larne relying on food parcels to survive this Christmas is at an all-time high.
A total of 192 people – 62 of them children – have been fed by Larne Foodbank since the start of November this year. This is a stark rise from the same period in 2014, which saw emergency food supplies handed out to 100 adults and 26 children.
Foodbank coordinator Alan Turner said the spike in demand over recent weeks has been “unprecedented”.
He added: “People were queuing up outside Craigyhill Presbyterian Church last Wednesday waiting for us to open so they collect their food supplies. We gave out food to 17 people in our first half-an hour, which shows the incredible the level of demand we are experiencing. It was just manic.
“It is difficult to comprehend the scale of the need in Larne until you see scenes like that. Household budgets are under pressure all year round, but Christmas adds an extra strain and can push families into crisis.
“Many people donate to the Foodbank because they know they are just one pay cheque from needing us themselves. They give a tin because they say it could be them some day.”