Hastings Foodbank has seen one of its busiest months on record.
The charity said March this year was the fourth busiest month since it was set up six years ago.
As a result its food stocks are very low of virtually everything and is appealing for donations.
Natalie Williams, communications and community engagement manager at King’s Church, which houses the town’s foodbank, said: “We had 352 referrals in March. One of the key reasons for the increase in demand is the introduction in Universal Credit in December 2016.
“We are seeing a lot of people coming to us between the period they are claiming Universal Credit to when they receive the money. It’s a long time, especially if they are providing for a family. It’s hard to suddenly not have any money for five weeks.
“We are also a fuel bank so people can be referred to us for gas and electricity.”
Universal Credit involves wrapping six existing benefits into a single monthly payment.
Natalie added: “We would like to express our gratefulness to the community as a whole, to churches, to schools, to supermarkets, and to residents, for their continued support and donations.
“Lots of people helped by the foodbank through their crisis do come back to donate or volunteer once they’re back on their feet.”
The foodbank was opened in April 2012. People are referred to it due to a variety of reasons, from long-term sickness to low wages and from benefit delays to debt. Many of those referred are in work, but struggling to make ends meet.
Foodbank bins are available in Tesco in Hollington, Asda and Sainsbury’s as well as at the Hastings Centre/King’s Church on The Ridge.