RESIDENTS have been urged to make a donation to food banks when they do their shopping amid surging demand from people who have lost their income due to coronavirus.

While supermarkets have stepped up efforts to stock up voluntary organisations across Darlington borough with provisions and food banks said the launch of the council’s support hub has eased pressure on them, those organising the services said demand has soared by 40 per cent over the past two weeks.

In response, food banks, such as the one based at King’s Church, Whessoe Road, which also supports other such services in the town, have opened for an extra day to meet demand.

Andrew Coltman, of King’s Church Food Bank, said the food bank was seeing people who had lost their jobs and were having to wait to receive Universal Credit funding, others who were struggling financially after being put on furlough and helping an increasing number of families.

Mr Coltman said: “The council, the public and businesses have been amazing in supporting us, but people can’t purchase a lot of items at the supermarket like they used to so have less to spare. We’re struggling in some areas, such as tinned meals.”

Darlington Borough Council leader Councillor Heather Scott said it was apparent the borough’s food banks were running low on supplies of some key items and appealed to shoppers to put an extra tin or packet of food into collection boxes at supermarkets.

She urged those who have been panic buying and hoarding food to stop, for all residents to reduce food waste and said donations of items such as rice and sauces would be welcomed.