A local charity is urging businesses and residents across East Durham to help those who are struggling to feed themselves.

East Durham Trust operates Food Emergency East Durham (FEED) which helps support local families and individuals, who may otherwise go hungry, by providing emergency food parcels.

Welfare reform, changes to benefits, zero hour contracts, debt and a rise of the cost of living all have an effect on livelihoods with increasing numbers finding themselves in financial dire straits, having to choose between putting food on the table or paying for other essentials such as rent or heating bills.

FEED has already distributed thousands of emergency food parcels via a network of volunteers to those in crisis situations, providing a much needed lifeline.

Malcolm Fallow, Chief Executive at East Durham Trust, said: “During the summer months donations to the project can reduce, as people go on holiday, or just become too busy as a result of kids being off school.

“However it’s important that our efforts continue throughout the holidays as there are still thousands of individuals and families living in poverty in the region.

“At this time of high unemployment, the introduction of Universal Credit and personal debts escalating, many are left struggling on low or no income. East Durham Trust’s FEED project provides emergency food parcels to local people in crisis situation, and school holiday periods can be increasingly difficult for local families without access to free school meals.”

Those interested in donating or finding out more, please visit the East Durham Trust website.