FOODBANKS are facing a “tsunami of need”, says the Trussell Trust, which has handed out a record number of almost 1.3 million emergency parcels over the past six months.
Figures released by the trust this week showed that the number was one third more than in the same period in 2021, and an increase of more than a half on pre-pandemic figures. Almost 500,000 parcels went to children. One in five people referred to its foodbanks are in working households. Foodbanks are changing their opening times to make sure that clients can pick up their parcels outside work hours.
The charity, which runs more than 1300 foodbank centres around the UK, says that it faces “breaking point” both physically and mentally, as its volunteers prepare for its busiest winter yet, and levels of need outstrip donations. They expect to provide an average of more than 7000 emergency food parcels daily.
The chief executive, Emma Revie, said: “These new statistics show that, even in summer months, people are struggling to afford the essentials, and we are expecting that this winter will be the hardest yet for foodbanks and the people they support. This is not right. We know that with the right support and a stable and sufficient income, people don’t need to turn to foodbanks for support.
“Over the last few years, the Government has acted to protect people who are struggling, and this action has had made a difference. They must now act again with swift support now to help people through the winter, and with vision for the longer term to ensure that social security is always enough to weather challenging times.”
She called for decisive action in next week’s Budget. “We urge the UK Government to realise their commitment of supporting people on the lowest income with a broad package of support. As well as ensuring that benefits rise with inflation as soon as possible, this must go further to close the gap between price rises and incomes over the winter.”
The trust has launched an emergency appeal in an effort to ensure that foodbanks can meet the level of need. Donations can be made through trusselltrust.org/appeal.
Josie Barlow, the manager of the trust’s foodbank in Bradford, West Yorkshire, said: “Someone who came to the foodbank recently told me that ‘Buying milk is a luxury now.’ We are also facing challenges. We have seen a huge increase in people coming to the foodbank in the last two months compared to the same period last year, and our stock levels are very low for this time of the year.”