Big rise in food bank use as ‘almost half the parcels go to children’
Written by on 12 November 2020
A record 1.2 million emergency parcels were handed out by Trussell Trust foodbanks in the six months to September, the charity has said.
More than 470,000 of the parcels went to children, according to the charity, which says it shows the scale of support needed during the pandemic.
The figures did not include people helped by community organisations, independent food banks, or local authorities.
The Trussell Trust runs a network of 1,300 centres across the UK and saw a 47% increase in support needed during the pandemic, its latest report said.
Although it welcomed moves by the government to help those struggling during the coronavirus outbreak, the charity has also called for longer-term action to be taken.
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Emma Revie, chief executive of the Trussell Trust, said: “Throughout 2020, communities across the country have stepped in to provide vital support to people left without enough money.
“Volunteers in food banks have been working hard under extremely difficult circumstances to make sure support is there for people struggling to afford essentials, but it’s not right that any of us are forced to a charity for food, at any time of year.
“In the last few weeks, we’ve seen incredible compassion and concern for people facing hunger following Marcus Rashford’s brilliant campaigning, and it’s hugely welcome to see the government build on steps already taken by providing significant new funding for local councils in England.
“This vital local support must work in co-ordination with a national welfare system that is strong enough to act as a lifeline to anyone struggling to afford the essentials.
“This pandemic has shown the unexpected can hit us suddenly, with devastating consequences for people’s lives, but it’s also shown we can make huge changes to the way we live and look after each other.”
The trust also said food banks in its network could see high levels of use over the winter, as more and more people become redundant.
Low income, benefit delays and sickness or ill health were the top three reasons someone may have been referred to a Trussell Trust food bank between April and September this year, its report says.
A government spokesman said: “We are committed to making sure that the most vulnerable in our society are protected and we’ve put in place a strong package of support to ensure children and their families do not go hungry during this pandemic.
“Our additional GBP400 million of funding includes GBP170 million to help families stay warm and well-fed this winter, a further GBP16 million to provide immediate support to frontline food aid charities, and a GBP220 million Holiday Activities and Food programme.”