DEMAND for free food parcels to help out desperate, needy families has rocketed in the last year.

The Salvation Army in Goldthorpe hands out meat, vegetables, pasta, fruit and bread donated by local people and churches to over 40 families a week - a number which has rocketed from just six families last year.

Capt Christine Lee, of Goldthorpe Salvation Army, said without the weekly handouts many would have no food to eat at all.

She said: “Demand is just escalating all the time.

“When they change benefits there can be up to eight weeks where they have no money at all. Of course, this is going to get worse because of the bedroom tax coming in.

“I really don’t know what some people are going to do. Last week I had a lady on her knees crying her eyes out because she had no money to buy anything for her kids.

People who have benefited from the food bank have given back by decorating and improving the Salvation Army building.

Food and parcels are taken as far afield as Mexborough and Darfield and they are also providing furniture for families in some cases.

The food bank is open to all and takes place on Mondays at 1pm.

Dearne MP John Healey added: “It is clear that food banks aren’t for the homeless or people with drug and alcohol problems – they are for people who have lost their jobs, are facing benefits delays and cuts or struggling with debt."