It is around a year since Ryedale Community Foodbank formed and the organisation tells a story of two sides of society.
Based in Norton, the community foodbank was set up after a similar organisation closed. It serves the Malton and Norton area, with satellite outlets in Pickering and Kirkbymoorside.
The fact that since the summer the foodbank itself has been eating its way through £2,000 each month to buy food on top of that donated by individuals and businesses points to the level of need in the area.
That the volunteers who operate the foodbank are able to raise the money needed to allow it to meet the needs of users also tells a story about their commitment and the support they receive from the wider community.
Dozens of volunteers give up their time to make sure the foodbank can help a growing number of people who rely on the generosity of others to get by.
Ryedale District Councillor Di Keal is chair of trustees at the community foodbank and said: “We are entirely volunteers, we have no paid staff.
“We have a fantastic crew of 40 or 50 volunteers who come, week in and week out, and pack the parcels to give to people who come in. We also deliver into the countryside.”
Some pack the food boxes ready for those in need, others make deliveries to rural locations where public transport is limited and some use their skills to raise money.
The team also includes some “fantastic fundraisers”, she said, who have helped the foodbank meet the challenge of feeding growing numbers of people at a time when those who have historically donated food also find their own finances more stretched and less able to do so.
Despite the growing pressures, those behind the food bank are determined users will open Christmas boxes to find a little more than normal.
They have already begun stockpiling ‘treats’ to provide some festive cheer and Kemps Books are also supporting the initiative by providing books as an extra surprise, with local children expected to help wrap those as additional gifts.
Cllr Keal said that although they operate on a referral basis: “We don’t turn people away, if someone has a genuine need we will make sure people are fed.”
In addition to food, they also supply valuable information, with trained ‘signposters’ who are able to direct people to services that can help with other difficulties they may face.
“People who come to us have lots of other issues, so it is more than just food that we offer.”