WATCH: Delight after people step in to help Portsmouth food bank

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GENEROUS donors have replenished a food bank that ran out of stock when the school summer holidays started.

Volunteers at the food bank in North End Baptist Church, in Portsmouth, had to turn people away on Tuesday, after completely running out of food to give out.

The two people would have gone without food had another family not stepped in to share their food parcel.

Following this, the food bank put out an appeal for people to donate any food they had going spare – and people in Portsmouth responded overwhelmingly.

At yesterday’s food bank session, volunteers found their shelves not only restocked, but overflowing – with food in bags on the floor waiting to be stored.

Volunteer Christine Wyvill said: ‘It is quite emotional to be honest.

‘Some of these people have no access to cooking, so we have to substitute all of the things we would usually give to them.

‘To have all of this food given to us is simply incredible.’

Helen Hitchings, who started the appeal after the food bank ran out of food, said that the response has come from across the region, not just the city.

She said: ‘It is wonderful how everyone has come together for this.

‘We have had more people come in to donate food than we have to come and collect food, which is staggering.

‘I would tell you exactly how much food we’ve got, but truth be told, we are still counting it all.

‘I was speaking to someone earlier in the day who lives in Chichester, and she said that she had heard about the problems here at the food bank.

‘It just goes to show just how far these things can spread.’

Helen said that they were already low on supplies on Tuesday night – and that evening tipped them over the edge.

‘It was the fact that it was so busy on Tuesday night that caught us out – we arrived and there was already a queue at the door,’ Helen said.

‘That, coupled with the fact that he is the summer holidays, is what caused the issue.’

Helen said that all the chairs were full, people were standing up and the church hall was full.

The shelves may now be brimming with food, but it won’t last for very long.

Helen added: ‘With how many people we have come in, the food that has been donated will be gone in due course – but what people have done for us is just astounding and we cannot thank them enough.

‘We have had a couple of businesses in North End say they will donate regularly too, which we really appreciate.’