FOODBANKS in Southend are facing a supply and demand crisis with more people needing their help, as already stretched residents struggle to find the extra cash to donate much-needed supplies

Bosses say the cost of living crisis has led to a spike in the number of families in the city coming to them for support. 

But with households forced to tighten their belts due to rising prices, foodbanks say they have also seen a drop in the number of donations made.

It comes as research from Loughborough University on behalf of end-of-life charity Marie Curie suggests hundreds are dying in poverty across south Essex.

Daniel Cauchi, manager of St Vincent’s Centre in Southend, says residents have openly admitted they cannot donate due to the cost of living crisis.

Mr Cauchi, who is also chairman of Southend’s Food Alliance Group, said: “We absolutely expected to see further demand and even less donations coming in.

"Everyone is struggling and spending more so we are seeing the amount of donations coming in dropping.

“We do get people telling us they cannot afford to donate as much as they did in the past and they come in with far less supplies for us.

“We now don’t have heaps of supplies anymore and can only just about refill and restock our foodbank."

He added: “We are seeing a rise in the demand and I think it’s going to get worse.”

St Vincent's Centre is a community hub which supports vulnerable people by offering food bank services, hot meals, household items and clothing.

Mr Cauchi fears all of is services will soon be at breaking-point, with more people in need of support due to a lack of finances.

He said: "I expect to see the demand rise a lot over the next year or so.

"I think we are going to see a huge increase, and especially as we go into winter and the colder weather and months.

“We see people in huge dire straits and a large range of people.

"We were very busy before the Ukraine crisis but now we see lots of people from the country needing help.

“We are also visited by people who have lost their businesses, refugees, some people with additions.

"It’s not just rough sleepers and homeless people who are coming to seek help.”

Late last week, the centre and team were joined by TV star Shane Richie for the filming of a new documentary, Heart without Homes.

It will focus on the work the centre is doing to support five people battling addiction.