With Christmas only a few weeks away, the Trussell Trust is concerned that more people than ever will need a food bank’s help.
Data released today (November 27) shows December 2018 was the busiest month for food banks last year, with 186,185 three-day emergency food parcels provided by food banks in the Trussell Trust’s network to people in crisis, 78,536 of which went to children. This is 44% higher than the monthly average for the 2018-19 financial year.
Last week, the charity published figures for April – Sept 2019, showing that there has already been a 23% increase in the number of food parcels provided compared to the same period in 2018. The Trussell Trust is, therefore, encouraging the public to do two things ahead of this Christmas.
First, it’s asking the public to donate to their local food bank as soon as possible, to ensure vital help is there for people pulled into crisis by increased pressure from heating bills, food and other essentials during the lead up to Christmas. Volunteers will be stretched supporting more people than ever, so the earlier donations are made, the more time volunteers will have to distribute them to people referred.
Second, in the run-up to the General Election, it’s asking the public to ask candidates on all sides to pledge to protect people from hunger by ensuring everyone has enough money for the basics.
The charity says the next government can start working towards a future where no one needs a food bank by ending the five-week wait for Universal Credit, ensuring benefit payments cover the cost of living and investing in local emergency support for people in crisis.
The Trussell Trust’s chief executive Emma Revie said it’s in our power to create a future where food banks won’t be necessary. She said:
‘Christmas is supposed to be a time of joy and celebration – but for too many people it’s becoming harder and harder to keep their heads above water. Nine in 10 of us believe hunger in the UK is a problem – food banks cannot and should not have to continue to pick up the pieces.
‘It’s not right that anyone should have to use a food bank at any time of year – not just at Christmas. Our next government must start working towards a future where no one needs a food bank. It’s not inevitable that every Christmas we hear stories about families needing food banks. It’s in our power to reach a future where everyone has enough money for the basics. This can change.’
Photo Credit – The Trussel Trust