Shropshire Star

Food bank demand rising

Demand for the services of food banks is increasing in the lead up to Christmas, and one food bank trust says that demand is much higher this year than before the pandemic.

Some of the donations of food to Bridgnorth Food Bank. Photo courtesy of Bridgnorth Food Bank.

New figures released by the Trussell Trust last week reveal more than 5,100 emergency food parcels were provided for people every day from April until September this year on average, by food banks in their network.

In the mean time, Bridgnorth Food Bank, although not run by the Trussell Trust, is experiencing its own increase in demand in the lead up to Christmas.

Statistics from Keith Bowley, treasurer of Bridgnorth Food Bank, have the summer 2021 average at about 25 parcels per week. The current level is now averaging 35 parcels per week and expected to grow to 45 parcels per week by Christmas.

In the past week Bridgnorth helped 17 families and two more requiring emergency help, nine couples and 11 individuals. Just the week before they helped 11 families, 11 couples and 14 individuals. The weekly numbers may fluctuate but there is a steady increase in demand.

As ever, the food bank relies on the generosity of local people and local businesses.

Keith Bowley added: "The need is particularly high during the winter so we are especially grateful to all the generous people who give food and money at this time. We are also grateful to the people who support us monthly by standing order and to the local businesses who support us. Our aim is that no one in need of our support should go hungry."

The Trussell Trust warns that need for emergency food is expected to rise further still, this winter and beyond. Food banks in the Trussell Trust network face giving out more than 7,000 food parcels every day in December across the country.

The charity says many families already at breaking point face the fallout of the £20 per week cut from Universal Credit payments that hit this autumn. This is on top of rising fuel costs during the coldest season, as well as increased inflation.

This, they say, is forcing many families deeper into poverty and is leaving people facing impossible decisions where their only option is to either skip meals to provide food for their children or heat their home.

Emma Revie, chief executive at the Trussell Trust, said: “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.

“Our food bank managers expect need to grow further still, saying they will need to provide more than 7,000 food parcels a day during December, as many families are faced with an even tougher winter ahead. This must stop."

If you would like to join the Trussell Trust’s Winter Appeal click here.

To donate to Bridgnorth Food Bank click here.

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