Nearly 2,000 people were fed by food banks in Southampton in the run up to Christmas.

Demand for Southampton City Mission food banks rocketed in December as people felt the pinch.

And the charity faced one of its busiest weeks on record – feeding 688 people just before Christmas.

Basics Bank manager Vicky McKillen said these figures form part of a bigger picture painted by the cost-of-living crisis and Covid-19 pandemic, with the charity feeding people a remarkable 21,765 times in 2023.

The Daily Echo teamed up with City Mission to launch the Boost the Bank campaign with an aim to drive more donations.

Thanks to donations made by Echo readers and Southampton residents, 1,928 people were fed over the course of the campaign, which ran from the end of November to December.

Daily Echo: Vicky McKillen, far right, with volunteers at Shirley Baptist ChurchVicky McKillen, far right, with volunteers at Shirley Baptist Church (Image: Newsquest)

The full figures

People fed each week during the campaign (adults and children)

  • November 27 – 450
  • December 4 – 497
  • December 11 – 550
  • December 18 – 688
  • December 25 – 78 (food banks were open for three half days)

In 2023, 1,928 people were fed, whereas in the year prior, 1,922 people were fed.

But the charity does not only provide food, but clothes too, clothing 180 people in December.

The full figures

People clothed each week during the campaign

  • November 27 – 43
  • December 4 – 49
  • December 11 – 67
  • December 18 – 57

Speaking on the success of the campaign, Vicky said: “We are very grateful for all those who have donated to us in the run up to Christmas.

“Thank you to the Daily Echo readers who have donated during the Boost the Bank campaign.

“It has been amazing to see so many wanting to support others in their communities.

“I am so proud of our wonderful volunteers who have worked so hard through a year of unprecedented high numbers.

"They are an incredible group of people who I am very lucky to work with.”

But the hard work does not stop now Christmas is over.

In fact, City Mission needs support now more than ever.

Vicky added: “January is a tricky month for many, and we ask, if you can, to think about supporting your food bank after Christmas as well.

“More and more people need our help especially as it gets colder. No one should have to choose between food or heating.“