Officials from Food Banks across West Norfolk say they have been overwhelmed by public support during a weekend of collections at supermarkets across the area.
Volunteers joined forces with staff of the Tesco stores in Lynn, Downham and Fakenham, as well as the Waitrose branch in Swaffham to stage the collections on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
And organisers believe that several tonnes of food, worth thousands of pounds, was donated by shoppers.
In Lynn, Food Bank volunteers collected food alongside staff of the Tesco Hardwick store.
Although the total amount collected has not been weighed in, officials said they were delighted with the strength of public support, though they remain cautious about the growing trend of need in the area.
Collections organiser Andy King said yesterday: “We had people donating whole trolleys of food. We had an anonymous donor who gave us £100 in cash. The response of the public was superb.”
Mr King said he was confident that the donations made over the weekend meant the Food Bank would be able to meet demand over the Christmas and New Year period.
However, following the news reported in the Lynn News on Friday that the Food Bank had fed 44 per cent more people in the six months to October than in the same period last year, he is concerned about the level of need continuing to rise in the early part of next year.
He said: “We just have to keep going and not rest on our laurels.”
Mr King also confirmed that the Food Bank was examining the possibility of employing a manager to run the service on either a part-time or full-time basis.
Officials are planning a new appeal for cash donations in the new year, which they hope will help to meet the costs of such an appointment.
Anyone who wishes to give food can take donations direct to the Food Bank, which opens at the Purfleet Trust building in St Ann’s Fort on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, between 2 and 4pm.
Elsewhere, managers of the Mid-Norfolk Food Bank estimate that around 800 kilograms of food, worth around £1,500 was donated by shoppers at Fakenham’s Tesco store, with a further 600 kilograms collected at Waitrose in Swaffham.
Project manager Dave Pearson said: “It’s amazing how generous people are. We had people come to us and leave entire trolleys, just taking home one bag.”
And Alex Coates, distribution manager of the Downham bank, was pleased with support for the collections held in the town’s Tesco store on Friday and Saturday, adding: “We were just inundated.”
Similar collections will be held at the Sainsbury’s store in Hunstanton this Friday, Saturday and Sunday, between 10am and 4pm each day.