A food bank has fed thousands of people as they feel the crunch before Christmas.

Demand for Southampton City Mission food banks is soaring – with the charity facing unprecedented levels of demand.

The cost-of-living crisis and aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic are to blame, according to Vicky McKillen, Basics Bank Manager.

To help garner more support and donations the Daily Echo teamed up with the charity to launch the Boost the Bank campaign.

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Since the launch at the end of November, 1,889 people have been fed while 216 have been clothed.

This is a slight decrease on the same period in 2022 where 1,950 people were fed.

But there is still a long way to go before things return to any semblance of normality.

Vicky said: “The lead up to Christmas has been really busy.

“It’s been bananas – it’s so busy this time of year.

“We have surpassed last year’s total number feeding 18,810 people as this year we’ve fed 21,400 - and the year hasn’t even finished yet.”

READ MORE: Council leader and MP back our Boost the Bank campaign

Choosing between heating or eating is the harsh reality faced by the majority of those who walk through the doors at City Mission, according to Vicky.

But despite the challenging times faced by many, the charity has been inundated with donations.

Vicky said: “We have met some of the most generous people this year, schools, churches, and members of the public have been really generous.

“Wildern School donated 130 crates of food to us and donations like that make such a difference.

“While it is awful food banks exist, people have been really generous which is lovely.

“It makes you feel better about it all, especially in a time where more and more people are having to use foodbanks and are struggling.

“It’s nice to see people supporting others.

“The cost-of-living crisis has affected people at all levels.”

Daily Echo: Volunteers from Southampton City MissionVolunteers from Southampton City Mission (Image: Newsquest)

Volunteers will rally together once more after Christmas, opening the food banks from December 27 to 29 from 10am to 1pm at the usual locations.

Vicky added: “I have spent the last week going round all our food banks thanking our volunteers for all their work.

“These lovely people will be working on the days after Christmas too.

“When I started here about two years ago, everybody told me the Christmas period was quiet.

“But that year the food banks were rammed, so I could not say how busy it may or may not be next week.

“It’s worth being open for those who need us and the team are happy to do it.”