A FOODBANK in Reading has revealed it helped thousands more people last year during the coronavirus pandemic.

ReadiFood provides food parcels to people who are in financial difficulties or struggling with food insecurity.

Alison Peyton has been the foodbank’s manager for more than 10 years.

She revealed that in 2020 the charity delivered 10,200 parcels to people in need which is up 1,700 from 2019 where 8,500 parcels were delivered in total.

In December 2020 alone, more than 1,000 parcels were delivered.

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Ms Peyton said a parcel is for a household and this could be one person living alone or a family.

The parcels are delivered across the conurbation of Reading up to Emmer Green in the north, west to Tilehurst, Southcote and parts of West Berkshire, south to Whitley and east to Newtown.

People who need food parcels are referred to the charity by agencies such as council departments, social services, and schools.

During the pandemic, Ms Peyton said the numbers of people needing parcels has been increasing month on month.

She explained: “Some months we had like a 60 per cent increase on the previous year.”

All the parcels are delivered, even before the pandemic, and people can donate food at donation points in supermarkets.

Ms Peyton said: “The public have been absolutely amazing.

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“We have had a constant flow of food."

The warehouse on 33 Boulton Road, Reading, is also open for people to donate food between Monday and Friday at 12pm until 2pm.

Over Christmas people were asked to do a reverse advent calendar where they would collect an item of food for every day of advent to donate to the charity.

Ms Peyton said these can now be delivered to the warehouse too.