New figures released by Market Drayton Foodbank show that 1,443 emergency food parcels were provided to people in the last year, feeding 3,886 people – 1,437 of whom were children.
Between April 2020 and March 2021, the food bank has seen an increase in the number of people in need of support as the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic hit people’s incomes and livelihoods.
For the corresponding period the previous year, 858 food parcels were provided, feeding 2,523 people of whom 1,058 were children.
The volunteers who collect donations and prepare parcels believe the increase in local people needing its support is due to factors including people’s finances being hit by coronavirus, an increase in redundancies, people waiting weeks for a first Universal Credit payment and difficulty accessing support.
Helen McSherry, who manages Market Drayton Foodbank, said: “It simply isn’t right that more and more people in Market Drayton are struggling to put food on the table and have been forced to our doors.
"The pandemic has impacted huge numbers of people and we know our figures are just the tip of the iceberg as new community organisations, independent food banks and local authorities have sprung up during the pandemic to support our community.
“We’re always blown away by the amount of support and generosity local people show in supporting our work – and during this difficult year, our vital work has only been possible because of that incredible support. Thank you so much.
"While our help continues to be needed, we are dedicated to ensuring that people without enough money for food are able to access emergency support.
“But ultimately, we don’t think it’s right that any of us are forced to turn to any charity for emergency food. That is why we are calling on our candidates standing in local elections in Shropshire to commit to ending the need for our services in our community. Together we can build a hunger-free future.”
The food bank is part of the Trussell Trust’s network, which reports record levels of need in the last year, with more than 2.5 million emergency food parcels given to people struggling to afford essentials between April 2020 and March 2021; more than 980,000 of these parcels went to children.
Market Drayton Foodbank is now calling on political candidates of all parties standing in next week's local elections to commit to ending the need for food banks in their community once and for all.
Emma Revie, chief executive of the Trussell Trust, said: “No one should face the indignity of needing emergency food.
"Yet our network of food banks has given out record numbers of food parcels as more and more people struggle without enough money for the essentials.
"This is not right but we know we can build a better future. This pandemic has shown the unexpected can hit suddenly, but we know when we push for change, united by our desire for justice and compassion, the government has to listen and act.
“We are asking you, the public, to write to your local election candidates for a commitment to working to end the need for food banks. Together we can take action now to build a hunger free future.”
Market Drayton Foodbank is currently appealing for food including fresh fruit and vegetables.
Collection points include the Asda in Stafford Street, Raven House in Cheshire Street and the Methodist Church in Shrewsbury Road.
Learn more about how to give or get help at marketdrayton.foodbank.org.uk.