A FOOD parcel scheme which has helped vulnerable people since July is being officially launched this month.

Chelmsford Foodbank, based at the Oasis Church, in Wharf Road, provides boxes of food to people who are struggling financially.

Since opening, the scheme has helped 62 adults and 30 children. After a successful start, an official launch will take place on October 19.

Items of food are donated through individuals, schools, churches and businesses, along with Asda in Chelmer Village and the Co-op in The Vineyards, Great Baddow.

Ruth Leverett, project manager of the foodbank team, said the boxes are proving to be crucial.

She said: “A sudden loss of income through redundancy, or an unexpected bill, can cause extreme hardship and people are, in some cases, being forced to make the choice between paying the bills and eating.

"In the winter, the choice is going to be increasingly between heating and eating.

“Changes in benefit provision and delays because of more stringent conditions and sanctions means many are falling on very hard times.

“The Foodbank provides emergency food for three days while the underlying issues are tackled.

“We are finding the two main reasons people are needing to use the Foodbank are because of benefit delays or changes or debt.

“The majority are aged between 25 to 64 and are white, single people.”

At the official launch party, Chelmsford mayor Christopher Kingsley will cut the ribbon before being shown how the project works.

For more details, visit www.chelmsford.foodbank.org.uk