Within a small number of years, they have become ubiquitous and no longer are they used only by those who are in crisis. We have heard frequent reports of nurses and teachers, firefighters and office workers who are all reliant on the support of their local food bank.
As the cost of living has spiralled, more and more people need the help of a local food bank if they are to enjoy the sustenance that all of us need. There is no choice between heating and eating for some; their weekly income simply does not extend to a supermarket shop.
We live in tough times, where food price inflation is around 20 per cent, and where all of us have become poorer in the past three years. The cost of the Ukraine war, the cost of Covid, and the ongoing stagnation of our economy has put pressure on the household purse.
The State does not provide sufficient means for many people, while the high price of living in the UK means those in work but on low incomes cannot afford to make ends meet.
Twenty years ago they were all but unheard of; now they have become an essential crutch for many. It is a sad reflection of our society that they are necessary and it feels as though we have taken a step backward.
That is in no way to diminish the vital role food banks play, the incredible dedication of the volunteers who staff them and the generous donations that keep them afloat. But it is difficult to escape the feeling that something is seriously wrong when working people cannot afford to feed their families.