Demand for food banks started rising long before the pandemic. Image: Unsplash
Food banks are giving out nearly 2,000 emergency food parcels to children every day, and say they will need to provide even more support this winter
The figure, published by the Trussell Trust, is an increase from the 1,700 daily parcels given to children in 2019, and the charity said the demand for emergency food is well above its pre-pandemic level.
In total, the trust has handed out more than 5,100 emergency parcels every day for six months – three parcels every minute.
Trussell Trust chief executive Emma Revie, called on the government to urgently strengthen the social security system.
“The answer must be for us to have the stability of a strong enough social security system to protect any one of us when we need it,” she said.
“We need government at all levels to take action and are asking the public to help fight hunger this winter and join the campaign to fight for a future without the need for food banks.”
The trust’s emergency food parcels give food for one person for either three or seven days. From April to September, the charity gave out 579,000 food parcels, including 350,000 to children.
Revie added: “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.”
Jonathan Reynolds, Labour’s shadow work and pensions secretary, said: “Thousands of food parcels given out every day to kids is frankly a disgrace – Britain deserves better than this.
“Conservative complacency and chaos has created a cost of living crisis with tax hikes, cuts to Universal Credit and soaring bills hammering families this winter.
“Labour would tackle the cost of living crisis through a VAT cut on energy bills to ease the burden on families this winter.”
The government was accused this month of “institutionalising” food banks. Guidance published for councils instructed local authorities to direct struggling families to emergency food handouts, encouraging referrals to foodbanks and describing charities as “delivery partners”.
“Embedding charitable food aid further through government funding is tantamount to institutionalising food banks in this country,” Sabine Goodwin, coordinator of the Independent Food Aid Network (IFAN) which comprises more than 500 food banks across the UK, told The Big Issue.
Your local vendor is at the sharp end of the cost-of-living crisis this Winter. Prices of energy and food are rising rapidly. As is the cost of rent. All at their highest rate in 40 years. Vendors are amongst the most vulnerable people affected. Support our vendors to earn as much as they can and give them a fighting chance this Winter.