ST HELENS' Food Bank is appealing for help filling its depleted shelves after Christmas almost cleaned it out.

After an exceptionally busy Christmas and new year, the food bank is in desperate need of more stock.

Issuing an appeal on their Twitter feed, the Food Bank, said: "Our stock of key items: sugar milk and juice are at an all time low!

"If you are able to donate some extra items this weekend it would make a huge difference to those in need!"

St Helens Food Bank, based at the Hope Centre on Atherton Street, has seen a huge increase in usage across their five regional hubs recently.

They have seen a jump in the demand for food parcels and essentials, with the numbers of people in need now higher than pandemic and pre-pandemic levels.

The number of families forced to rely on food banks amid rapidly rising prices looks set to shoot up, charities have warned.

Recently released inflation figures showed food costs rose by 5.4 per cent in December, higher than expected. While prices jumped across the board, some of the biggest rises were seen among everyday essentials such as margerines, oils and fats.

The Office of National Statistics said food inflation reached 4.5 per cent year-on-year in December and was 1.4 per cent since November alone.

Retail prices index data reveals the price of lamb shot up by 5.7 per cent over the month while staples such as fresh milk jumped 3 per cent, bread was 2 per cent higher and eggs lifted 1 per cent.

In the fruit and vegetable aisles, some of the steepest price rises were for potatoes, up 2.1 per cent, with processed veg seeing a 5.1 per cent hike.

Donations can be dropped off at the Hope Centre on Atherton Street or at venues including Tesco St Helens, Asda St Helens and Dentons Green Post Office.