THE need for foodbanks in the UK remains well above pre-pandemic levels, the Trussell Trust has warned. The charity reported this week that more than 5100 emergency food parcels a day were given out during the six months to September — an 11-per-cent increase on same period in 2019.
The latest figures, released on Tuesday, suggest that families with children have been the worst affected. In the six months from April 2021, 935,749 parcels were handed out. Of these, 356,570 were given for children, an average of 2000 parcels a day, compared with almost 1700 in 2019.
Parcels were distributed by 1468 centres operating in 292 local authorities across the UK.
In the year to March 2021, at the height of Covid restrictions, the charity reported that its foodbanks had given out more than 2.5 million emergency parcels, 980,000 of them for children — 128 per cent higher than five years ago (News, 23 April). While the figures from this year are lower on average than during that time, they remain higher than in 2019, and 74 per cent higher than the same period in 2016.
Winter is the busiest time of the year for the Trussell Trust, especially around Christmas. Its network of foodbanks expect to hand out more than 7000 food parcels each day in December. The Universal Credit cut earlier this year (News, 10 September), rising fuel costs, and inflation exacerbates the situation, forcing parents to skip meals to pay for food for their children or heat the home, the charity reports.
Its chief executive, Emma Revie, urged the Government to strengthen the social-security system, and called for public donations. “Everyone in the UK should be able to afford the essentials — to buy their own food and heat their homes. Yet food banks in our network continue to see more and more people facing destitution, with an increase in food parcels going to children. This is not right.”