The Trussell Trust, which runs food banks across the West Midlands, issued a stark warning after new research showed record-breaking levels of need, with one in five individuals referred to its network now coming from working households.
According to figures from the charity, which provides urgent support to those in poverty, more emergency food parcels were given out during the April to September period than ever before.
Over the last six months, 320,000 people have been forced to turn to food banks for the first time, it added.
Feed a Family:
Nearly 1.3 million food parcels were handed out by food banks in the Trussell Trust’s UK network over the same period – almost half a million of which went to children.
This is double the number provided in the same timeframe before the pandemic and a third more than were given out between April and September last year.
Need is now exceeding donations for the first time in the charity’s history.
The trust has warned food banks are now at “breaking point” due to a “tsunami of need” driven by the cost of living crisis as it called on the Government to provide adequate support in its upcoming budget.
Karen Williams, manager at Shrewsbury Food Bank Plus, said they were seeing a similar situation, with many people requiring help those “who never thought they would use a food bank”.
Mrs Williams said that in the first week of November they had fed 221 people – a significant rise on the 151 in the same week last year.
She said: “We are certainly seeing a different type of client. A lot of our clients are in work, that is no longer unusual.”
Emma Revie, chief executive at the Trussell Trust, 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 food banks and the people they support. This is not right.”
She added: “We are calling for the Prime Minister to act decisively 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.”
* The Shropshire Star’s Feed a Family campaign has been calling on people who have the capacity to support their local food banks as the pressure of the cost of living crisis continues to squeeze families across the county.