A PARTNERSHIP that helps to feed people that have fallen on tough times have asked for local people to continue donating following national media claims that food banks are being exploited by 'scroungers.'
Barnsley Foodbank Partnership says local demand for food banks is so great that it has had to expand its depot from Blacker Hill Methodist Church to a much bigger unit on Grange Lane Industrial Estate in Barnsley.
In April the organisation distributed 149 food parcels, feeding 314 people across the borough.
But then the Trussell Trust - Britain's biggest food bank provider which helps run the Barnsley partnership - hit the headlines in a Mail on Sunday investigation.
The story headlined 'No ID, no checks ... and vouchers for sob stories: the truth behind those shock food bank claims' suggested that the scale of Britain's welfare problems had been exaggerated.
Alan Rouane, project co-ordinator, Barnsley Foodbank Partnership, said this week: "People can't just walk into one of our centres with a voucher. When people come in they have a letter or text with their own code given to them by the agency that referred them, for example, Citizens' Advice Bureau.
"My gut feeling anyway is that we are identifying the right people and we are seeing people in desperate need. I'm not getting any feedback that people are not genuine. We even train people from the referring agencies to spot people in crisis."
Since December, the Barnsley Foodbank Partnership has introduced and established three new food banks across the borough. Mr Rouane said: "The message is please keep on donating. We're always looking for dried and tinned goods particularly tinned fruit and fish."
People can donate at various collection points around Barnsley or visit the new, bigger depot at Unit 19, Grange Lane Industrial Estate, Carrwood Road, Barnsley.