Maldon Food Panty is celebrating the donation of it’s 10,000th food parcel after opening eight years ago.

The pantry, which opened in 2011, receives food from Maldon and Heybridge residents as well as local shops, schools, churches, businesses and community clubs.

Food that would otherwise have gone to waste is then redistributed to members of the community who are in need.

Director of the pantry and Pastor of the Pentecostal Church, Rob Sefton, said: “We would like to thank everyone who has supported us over the past eight years.

“We’ve now reached the tremendous milestone of 10,000 parcels.

“There are many reasons the demand for our service is growing, the main one being that the benefits people receive are not enough to cover all their living expenses.

“There are also a number of people who come to us who have been sanctioned by the Jobcentre.

“You only need one more condition on top of losing your job or something to end up in financial difficulty.

“One lady who uses the pantry was moved to Maldon with her four children because of domestic violence and she has nothing.”

Any donations made are gratefully received by the pantry as demand for the service grows.

Mr Sefton added: “In winter the parcels are in high demand because people have to use their electricity more and put the heating on, so they don’t have money spare for food.”

Currently the pantry distributes an average of 26 parcels per week, which feeds an estimated 60 people.

In the colder months this number increases to 40, which can feed over 100 people per week.

The group also hope to take on other projects such as a school uniform exchange and providing temporary accommodation for locals who find themselves homeless.

Mr Sefton added: “To achieve this we will once again need the support of the public.

“We would also like to ask parents to start donating school uniforms that are in good condition.

“If any homeowners would like to discuss making a house available to us, please do get in touch.

“We look forward receiving continued support from the community in the future.”

The Elim Church on Wantz Road hosts the Food pantry every Wednesday morning.