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People are turning off fridges to make ends meet says Christian foodbank manager

by Donna Birrell

A foodbank manager in Cornwall has said some people are turning off their fridges overnight to help cut down on bills as the cost of living rises. 

It comes as inflation has reached 9 per cent - it's highest level for 40 years - and there are growing calls for the Chancellor to take immediate action to help people struggling with rising prices.

Amidst the uncertainty, more people are turning to foodbanks to help feed their families.
Simon Fann fromTruro Foodbank told Premier: "At the moment, the simple mathematics show that more food is going out than is coming in. We're feeding about 100 people a week.
"Before Covid we were feeding about 2,500 a year. So that's pretty much double what it used to be. I think what we're finding is people that were very kindly able to give donations in the past are now struggling and questioning themselves whether they can actually donate as they used to. So just at the point that demand is going up, donations of food are going down."

Truro Foodbank is operated by the Trussell Trust and Fann said the increase in demand is so significant it currently has to make up a donation shortfall of about half a tonne each month. It means the foodbank has to buy in stock so supplies don't run out. He also said some people are switching off their appliances, including fridges overnight to save money : 

"We have heard that from education sources," he said.  "That is clearly worrying, because that's taking a real chance that the food will still be fit for purpose and certainly I don't think you'll find any environmental health officers recommending that people do that. But that's just an indication of the level of concern or anxiety that some people have.

"The people that it affects mostly perhaps are the children. Adults can sometimes get by by cutting back on what they eat. But some people are making some very tough decisions about what they do with their money - do they go to the dentist or not? Do they even turn off some appliances at night or not? It's those kinds of real hard decisions that a lot of people are having to make and more people are having to make them."

Fann said that although it is easy to be despairing, faith can play an important part in helping  navigate the way ahead : 

"Prayer and trust is important, it's about trying to keep balance. In Deuteronomy 31:8 it says 'the Lord will not leave you or forsake you. He will walk alongside you and in front of you. Do not be discouraged, and do not be afraid.' And that's a passage I think that is resonating at the moment."


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