An Ipswich foodbank founder has said the number of support packages being delivered to those in need has more than doubled since the cost of living crisis began.

Maureen Reynel, founder of Ipswich FIND (Families in Need), said the amount of food parcels being handed out daily has risen from the mid to late teens to almost 40 in the space of just a few months.

"Demand has risen big time," she said.

"It has started to really spike in the last four weeks.

"I'm now seeing 20 packages being ordered before midday and there's no sign of it easing anytime soon.

Ipswich Star: Maureen Reynel MBE, founder of Ipswich FIND foodbankMaureen Reynel MBE, founder of Ipswich FIND foodbank (Image: Sarah Lucy Brown)

"But, as long as we've got money to help, we will feed as many people as we can.

"I would ask anyone to please donate food through their local Sainsbury's or Co-op. Just a can of something will go a long way."

In addition to rising demand, Ipswich FIND are also seeing a shortage of voluntary drivers that can deliver the packages to those who need them.

"At a minimum, I need 10 drivers," said Maureen.

"That number has dropped by 25% in just a matter of months.

"A lot of drivers are going on holiday so we just don't have the staff.

"I'm banging the drum trying to get more drivers so that we can cope with this demand."

Referrals for food packages to Ipswich FIND come from a number of different support agencies.

Citizens Advice, who are responsible for referring a number of people to the food bank, say they have seen significant numbers of people in need since the start of the year.

"We did 90 referrals to Maureen in August," said Nicky Willshere, chief officer at the organisation.

"That was slightly down on the 97 the previous month and 133 in May.

"Not including September, we've sent 711 referrals since the start of January.

"And that's just the number coming from us.

"With everything that's going on at the moment, I don't know what we would do without foodbanks.

"Ipswich would be completely stuffed if anything happened to Maureen and FIND do an absolutely sterling job.

"Without them, Ipswich would be on its knees."