A CHARITY which offers food for struggling families is running short of supplies weeks after opening its doors.

Emmaus Bolton opened its new pantry in June and the service - which is similar to a foodbank - already helps to feed as many as 400 people, with supplies becoming strained.

Lucie's Pantry offers a wide range of food that can be accessed by members who each pay a charge of £2.50 to receive a box for their family worth as much as £25.

Each member is recommended to the charity by other organisations, including groups like Urban Outreach, Fort Alice and BACKUP.

But Tony Stephenson, executive lead at Emmaus Bolton, says interest in the pantry has been higher than expected and organisers need new donations.

He said: "Our original target was 50 families but we were quickly pushing 90. We're running at about 75 at the moment but have got a waiting list and the reason for that is that we're struggling to get enough food."

Currently supplies come from a number of sources including packages of unsold food from supermarkets and donations from the public.

"Some of these people are surviving on virtually no money and some of the people who come to use support families of four, five or six," Mr Stephenson said.

"Some of the stories that we hear of how people are surviving are absolutely horrific. In some cases people have to go without good so that the rest of their family, including children, can eat."

Lucie's is currently in need of dry and tinned products, jars of food, pasta and rice, as well as toiletries.

Members of the service visit the site each week and can fill a box with food for their families after paying the small fee.

It is hoped that this system helps remove the stigma which can sometimes develop around foodbanks, where visitors are given food for free.

It is also available all year round, where foodbanks are usually only available during specific periods after being referred by another organisation.

Anyone who wants to donate can call Emmaus on 01204 398056, email info@emmausbolton.org.uk or visit the site at the former army barracks in Fletcher Street.