My target audience for this article, is local publications close to the North East of Doncaster. Thorne Times, Doncaster Free Press, and The Star, the latter is a Sheffield based newspaper, but is distributed in Doncaster, as well as Rotherham, Barnsley, and Sheffield.
The age group that I am aiming at is all adults, as the subject matter affects everyone, because you never know if you will be requiring the assistance of a food bank.
According to the Centre for Economics and Business Research, The United Kingdom is now the 5th largest economy in the world, slightly ahead of the French, and only beaten by the United States of America, Japan, China and Germany. 
So, why as one of the richest countries in the world, do so many families rely on foodbanks each week?
The Trussell Trust are one of the largest charities to organise food banks around the United Kingdom, and they have reported a large increase in numbers accessing their services in 2013-14. 913,138 people were given an emergency food parcel from the Trussell Trust, which was an increase of over 263 percent on the previous year. 
Service users who attend food banks, do so for a wide variety of reasons. It could be that income has been reduced, or that people have lost their jobs. There have also been changes to the benefits system, along with the rising cost of utilities. In addition to this, any money spent on food and drink, has been reduced with companies not wishing to increase their prices, but keep their costs lower by reducing the size of the product that they sell.
To see how things have changed over the last few years, I visited a local food bank, to see for myself who visits, what support is there for the service users, and the difference these organisations make to peoples lives.
Thorne and Moorends Food Bank Group (TMFBP) organises two sessions per week for the local community who are in need to visit for food parcels, have a hot drink, make friends and be supported during difficult times. Volunteers saw the need to support individuals and families within the local area, and the initial reaction from some in the community was less than positive. Some questioned whether a food bank was required, others thought it was a gimmick that wouldn’t survive the summer, but after starting in March 2014, the Food Bank reached Christmas, and served 31 families on Christmas Eve, with over 175 bags of food given out.
The food bank also have links to local council services, Citizens Advice Bureau, and other voluntary providers, so that the assistance given to the service user reaches further than just food to feed for three days.
I had no idea what to expect walking through the door of the Thornensians Rugby Club, the home of TMFBP since August, but I have worked previously in a homeless shelter over Christmas, during my time at the Homeless and Rootless Centre in Sheffield.
During my brief time helping at the Food Bank, I saw people of all ages, those with families, those on their own, but everyone there had the same basic requirement. They all had taken the brave step through the door of the Food Bank, knowing that they needed help in order to feed themselves and/or their families over the Christmas period.
The volunteers who run the Food Bank, do so for no money, or glory, but just to help other people who need a helping hand. Most are retired, but their level of work or commitment is second to none. They spare their time, and, in a lot of cases, money from their own pockets, to fetch food from local supermarkets and food suppliers, and also space from their own homes and garages to store tins, packets and jars, because there is only a limited amount of cupboard space within the temporary home of the Rugby Club.
So, what do the people using the Food Bank, get for their 3 day parcel of emergency food?
As it was Christmas Eve, the Food Bank took the decision to allow a higher amount of food to be given. This would allow a little more breathing space for the service users, and also because the Food Bank would be closed on the following Wednesday, which was New Years Eve.
Tinned products, including new potatoes, carrots, processed peas, sweetcorn, beans, spaghetti, and meat were contained within one bag. Fresh vegetables were in short supply, but the volunteers tried to spread the donations around as much as possible. As many vegetable bags with onions, sprouts, and cauliflowers were filled, but these ran out after about 90 minutes.
2 loaves of bread were given to each family which had been donated by a local supermarket. along with other staples such as rice, pasta, pasta sauce, breakfast cereal, UHT milk, jams, and tinned sponge pudding and custard.
Where a family had children, each child received a selection box, and some other christmas chocolates, such as coins, or a little bag of sweets, to try and make Christmas slightly easier for the parents.
The most needy service users also received a chicken, which had been donated by a local food supplier in Scunthorpe, but there was not enough to go around, with only 15 available for the 31 families that walked through the door.
One service user who I spoke to, Mary, who only wished to use her first name, was overwhelmed with the support given by the Food Bank.
“I don’t know how my family would cope this Christmas without this help. My husband and I just haven’t got enough money to feed ourselves and the children week in week out.
“It has been very difficult since he was made redundant, and my hours have been reduced at work. The children do at least get their school dinner free when they are at school, but they are off for Christmas now, so it’s put extra pressure on what little money we have.
“We are just to thankful to the Food Bank, the volunteers, and the people and shops that donate. Without them, I just don’t know what we would have done.”
Mary’s story is typical of what I heard from the people I spoke to, with many not wanting to give their name to me, as they felt embarrassed and ashamed that they were relying on handouts from a Food Bank. One man I spoke with, explained that until the end of 2012, he owned a successful business, but with other companies going bust, it had put so much pressure on his company, he had lost everything, including his car and house, and now he was living in a shared house with 3 other people.
The rise in the use of Food Banks has grown over the last five years, and the spread of these organisations doesn’t look likely to fall in the future. Feeding your family and yourself is one of life’s basic requirements and those who are struggling to make ends meet will continue to use these facilities.
One of the volunteers working during my visit was Maria Barraclough, a 43 year old mum of 3 from Thorne who spoke to me as I was due to leave.
She said “These people didn’t know what they were going to eat on Christmas Day, or even if they were going to eat.
“The help we can give people over the festive period, will hopefully get them on an even keel, to look toward the New Year, with fresh hope that they can build on their future.”
With that in mind, the dawn of 2015 will still see the Food Bank helping families, but hopefully to a lesser extent, with families finding their feet over the coming months.