WA charities are being inundated with the biggest demand for handouts in years as cash-strapped families struggle in the lead-up to Christmas.
Foodbank manager David Warren said there was a huge demand for food handouts from families who were trimming their budgets to pay bills and buy presents during the festive season.
"Food is usually the easiest thing to cut from the budget and those low-income families are really the ones looking for help," he said.
"The demand for food is greater and bigger than we've seen in the past three years."
Mr Warren said the charity's latest research showed a 9 per cent increase in the number of people looking for food donations this year compared with last year.
The Salvation Army's fundraising secretary Warren Palmer said the charity might have to turn down some requests for help this Christmas because of the enormous demand for food hampers.
Many requests are coming from the elderly, low-income earners and homeless people in the suburbs and are expected to get more frequent as Christmas draws closer. "Early indicators are causing us some level of concern that the requests for assistance are going to exceed the resources that we have," Mr Palmer said.
The charity has noticed a sharp increase in people asking for help from Perth's outer northern suburbs including Merriwa, Clarkson, Butler and Joondalup, many of them single-parent families with several children in their care.
Mr Palmer said it was a sad sign of how stretched families had become that many would not be able to afford a Christmas lunch this year because of the rising cost of utility bills.
"People's ability and capacity to be able to afford a special Christmas meal is really starting to diminish," he said.
"Christmas is about connecting between families and the Christmas meal is important for that."
Foodbank is asking Perth CBD workers to bring cans of food to Raine Square tomorrow as part of Foodbank's Christmas appeal.
Volunteers hope to fill about 50 wheelie bins with cans of food that will provide about 5000 meals for struggling families during the festive season.