THE NUMBER of people seeking support from Ryedale Food Bank is continuing to grow.

Around 500 people have been fed by the facility since it was set up last July.

Organisers said it has been helped by a steady flow of food and financial donations as well as contributions from churches, local organisations and schools.

The latest collection was made by pupils at Settrington Primary School which held a non-uniform day in aid of the food bank.

Headteacher Catherine Hanch said they had set up a collection box shortly after the food bank was first opened.

"Parents regularly drop items in but we wanted to do something to help the children feel part of the community and decided to hold a non-uniform day in return for a donation to the food bank," she added.

Ryedale Food Bank is now open in Malton at Hope Central, Castlegate on Wednesday mornings and Friday afternoons.

It is also open at Pottter Hill Methodist Church in Pickering on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons.

Co-ordinator Lesley Hurley said there was an increasing number of people finding themselves in a crisis, facing a period without food or means to buy any food

"We have found from our statistics the biggest number of people we see are in low income jobs, where money will be limited at the best of times," she added.

"They may have had a shift cut from their week and find themselves unable to meet their financial commitments often going without food in order to cover the rent or other bills."

"One or two extra expenses that you or I can withstand could be the tipping point for them."

Lesley said that for anyone who found themselves in this position there were over 20 official agents where vouchers for the Food Bank could be issued.

"We are always grateful for the food donations we receive each week and some financial ones which are also brilliant and we are still accepting applications for volunteers and looking for enthusiastic people with particular skills," she added.

"Another way to help is for people to tell their friends and neighbours about the food bank - it might be just the information they need."

Lesley added: "You might not know if they are in crisis or just around the corner from it as they probably won't tell you. People get laid off all the time these days. An injury, Ill health or a family breakdown could befall any one of us.

"Where would you go if you suddenly had nothing to buy your next meal with?"

• The food bank is currently short of :-small tins of fruit & meat, medium tins of vegetables, UHT milk, small jars/refill packs of coffee, tinned sponge puddings, UHT juice, 500g sugars, personal & cleaning products, toilet rolls, pet food and any carrier bags, especially bags for life

For more information about Ryedale Food Bank phone 01653 697796 or email