BODMIN residents have been urged to help set up a foodbank in the town to help feed an increasing number of people who are in crisis.
The appeal has come from Bodmin rector the Reverend Canon Graham Minors, who says more residents than ever are getting into financial difficulty and are unable to feed themselves or their families.
He said only last week he emptied his own cupboards of food to help people who had come to his rectory seeking help.
The rector is now calling on volunteers to set up a foodbank in the town to help people in need.
Mr Graham said: "We desperately need a foodbank here in Bodmin to run on similar lines to the one in Wadebridge.
"I'm constantly being asked for food myself, and am only too glad to give it.
"I've visited people who are in severe hardship. In one case, I went to a house which contained nothing more than two chairs.
"I had three people come to the rectory the other day and I gladly gave them all the food I had.
"The scale of poverty beggars belief and I believe it will get worse, and it's imperative that we get a foodbank up and running in Bodmin," he said.
Latest figures show that more than 40 per cent of children in Bodmin's St Mary's ward are living in poverty, one of the highest child poverty figures in Cornwall.
At Wadebridge, a foodbank has been operating for years and more than 850 people in hardship have used it in the past six months.
Volunteers distribute emergency food parcels in exchange for vouchers which are obtained from GPs, social workers and health visitors or through schools, churches and children's centres. People donate food at drop-off points situated at the Co-op supermarket in Wadebridge and at Tesco branches in Padstow and Wadebridge.
The facility also offers help to people in Bodmin, but Father Graham said he believed a separate foodbank was required in his town, on the Wadebridge model.
"I'm sure the church can provide premises to store the food here in Bodmin, but we need a group of volunteers to take it on and to form a committee to run the foodbank," he said.
Town councillor Tommy Denholm agreed Bodmin needed its own foodbank.
"The situation at the moment is that people in Bodmin bring food to the church and then it's taken to Wadebridge, and those in need have to catch a bus there in order to receive it," he said.
"We have to remember that the St Mary's ward is one of the most deprived areas in the whole of the country, not just Cornwall, and we all really have to look closely at our consciences and ensure the poor and needy of Bodmin at least get one square meal a day."