FOODBANKS are bracing for an even busier winter than last year as the “pinch” of the cost-of-living crisis refuses to loosen its grip.

Volunteers at Newport Foodbank, part of The Trussell Trust, say they are struggling to provide some essential items with donations lagging behind demand.

Manager Jon Slocombe, 58, says it is a “sign of the times” that people are having to hold back on charity donations to look after their own families going into the Christmas period.

“We have been short in recent months," he said. "Donations from supermarkets are down. But I want to thank the Newport public for their ongoing generosity in such difficult times and the local schools have been fantastic.

“We are feeding more and more families who are struggling with the way things are going. We are all feeling the pinch.

"With Christmas coming, people are going to want to look after their own families. Behind everyone who walks through the door, there is a family in crisis.”

South Wales Argus: Typical food parcel for a family of four

Volunteer Gloria Williams, 63, takes the time to talk to visitors and signpost services that can address the underlying cause of their crisis.

“Embarrassment is an issue for a lot of people. Some of them have had high-flying jobs," she said. "Lots of people are nervous and they may have social anxiety. Some don’t make it here and need someone to come in for them."

Ms Williams remembers “struggling” to find places to store the donations at points last year – but while demand heads in one direction, the volunteers now find themselves unable to provide basics such as toilet paper and fruit and running low on supplies of tinned meat and shampoo.

South Wales Argus: Out of fruit

“Last week, we were out of veg,” said Joy Jenkins, who has volunteered for Newport Foodbank since she retired.

“Last winter was different. We had working parents with good wages who are worried about going into debt. We had people we don’t usually see, because of their utility bills.

“Last year, people brought in Christmas treats like cake and mince pies. That was nice to be able to help a family in that way.”

South Wales Argus: Joy Jenkins, volunteer at Newport Foodbank

Mr Slocombe, who started at the foodbank as a volunteer, says the team is on a “mission” to end the need for foodbanks altogether, investing in community allotments and working with Christians Against Poverty to provide debt counselling.

Trussell Trust foodbanks are expecting to provide more than a million emergency food parcels between December 2023 and February 2024 – a record high, equating to one every eight seconds.

A recent survey suggests more than nine in 10 foodbanks have resorted to purchasing their own products in the past three months in order to meet increased demand.

“It’s quite shocking, how low we get on supplies,” Mr Slocombe said. “We are trying to provide a charitable service, to give people food, and we find we don’t have any either.”

You can learn more about the support available from Newport Foodbank at