A new foodbank has opened for residents in north Manchester following a surge in demand during the pandemic.
The new service has been launched in Harpurhey as bosses say they are seeing levels of destitution they have never seen before due to the effects coronavirus has had on people's jobs and livelihoods.
It is being run by the Manchester Central Foodbank based on Oxford Road in the city centre and which helps those in need living in central and eastern parts of the city.
However they say around 20 percent of their referrals are now coming from the north Manchester meaning there are some people who have to travel up to six miles to access emergency food services.
Based in Harpurhey it will also help people living in Charlestown, Cheetham, Crumpsall, Higher Blackley, Miles Platting, Newton Heath and Moston.
It will be based out of No. 93, formerly the Harpurhey Wellbeing Centre, on Church Lane which has recently undergone a £1m refurbishment and currently hosts a number of groups including a community grocer with parcels being distributed once a week.
A donation point has also been set up at the Asda store with all food and goods collected being delivered straight to No.93.
Local Manchester City fans, through the MCFC Fans Foodbank Support group, are among those who are supporting it and who who have volunteered to help get it up and running.
Lauren Tunnicliffe, Project Manager at Manchester Central Foodbank, said of the new Harpurhey centre: “Like everyone working with people in poverty this year, we have experienced levels of demand that we have never seen before.
"During our busiest week this year, we distributed nearly five times the number of parcels that we distributed in the same time last year.
“Whilst a covid-19 vaccine is looking possible in a few months’ time, for most of us the problem won’t go away with the virus.
"The levels of destitution that have come about as a result of the crisis will not be so easily fixed.”
Matthew Stallard, Chair of Trustees at Manchester Central Foodbank, said: "The increase in need in our community since the COVID crisis began has been truly shocking and we would not have been able to keep up with the rising levels of poverty in Manchester if it weren't for the tremendous generosity of our food and cash donors, particularly including the amazing way that Manchester City fans have been able to tap into their love for the city and step in to help at a time when it is needed most".
Alex Timperley, from MCFC Fans Foodbank Support, said: "It’s not charity, it’s solidarity at a time when there’s a food poverty crisis on the streets of every town and city in the country.
"We’re so proud to see our fellow Blues getting out into their community and helping support vulnerable people."