Food banks have seen an increase in demand
Almost all food banks (99%) have seen an increase in demand since the start of the year, according to community donation platform Neighborly and Aldi – which work together to distribute surplus food from supermarket stores. It is estimated that one in three people who go to banks have never needed one before.
As levels of poverty, misery and hunger rise at an alarming rate, the Independent Food Aid Network (IFAN) has written to the Prime Minister and Chancellor in desperate need of support.
The group, which represents food aid providers across the UK, including more than 550 independent food banks, wrote: ‘We are deeply concerned about the scale of the suffering we are already witnessing, as well as by our ability to keep people from going hungry in the weeks and months to come.
“An emergency food supply cannot solve someone’s financial crisis and will only act as a temporary band-aid.
“Measures must be introduced urgently to decisively increase people’s incomes through the social security system and wage increases combined with job security.”
Food banks are urging the government to increase benefits by at least eight percent, in line with inflation.
They also want the removal of the five-week wait for Universal Credit and to make crisis cash payments readily available.
Sabine Goodwin, who wrote the letter on behalf of IFAN, also calls for wage increases to match the cost of living.
Prime Minister urged to better support people in food poverty
The Daily Express spoke to charities, food banks and community causes to find out how they are doing. Ms Goodwin, IFAN Coordinator, said: “The food banks in our network are facing an impossible situation.
“They are struggling to support more and more people unable to feed themselves as their capacity is reduced due to lack of donations and volunteers.
“The answer is clearly not the provision of unsustainable charitable food aid, but ensuring that people have enough income to survive through adequate social security payments, wages and job security.
“We urge the government to tackle the worsening poverty crisis in the UK and stop hunger from happening in the first place.”
Andrew Forsey, National Director of Feeding Britain, said: “Our country’s last line of defense against extreme poverty is in danger of being overwhelmed. As hardened Brits feel the pinch, the queue for Feeding Britain aid grows longer each week. Those queuing had to unplug fridges and freezers, stop using heating and hot water, and bring home larger quantities of food from our projects in a desperate attempt to keep a roof over their head.
Orla Delargy of Sustain: The Alliance for Better Food and Agriculture said: “Colleagues working in food banks warn of the huge increase in need. But food banks can
do not do much and cannot solve the financial crisis that many of their users present.
Universal Credit emergency payments can take five weeks to clear
“They should never be seen as just a band-aid, not a solution to poverty.” Food banks have reported an average increase in demand of 31% for their services so far this year, according to the Neighborly and Aldi survey.
This figure is expected to rise to 35% over the next three months as higher energy bills and rising national insurance contributions add to
Steve Butterworth of Neighborly said: ‘During a difficult time for everyone, anything people can do to give back in the weeks ahead will make all the difference.
Comment by Emma Hardy
There’s a saying, “Charity begins at home,” but there was a time when that wasn’t necessary.
The rise of food banks should put us all to shame. They are the direct result of choices made by governments over the past 12 years, and if we are to end them, this country needs a change of course.
I recently visited the community store and food bank at St Martin’s Church in Hull. I am proud of the people who dedicate their time and effort to managing projects like St Martin’s.
More and more people on zero hour contracts are unable to make ends meet
But I’m not proud that a country like ours needs it.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a friend from Hull, once said, “There comes a time when we have to stop pulling people out of the river. We need to go upstream and find out why they are falling.
The St Martin’s team explained to me that they were seeing more and more people on zero hour contracts who were not getting enough hours to make ends meet but were not eligible for Universal Credit.
We can change this country for the better, but to do that we need a government that has the desire to go upstream, find out why its people are falling, and have the courage to do the right thing. to prevent it. Not one is content to leave it to those with compassion to pull drowning out of the waters.
• Emma Hardy is the Labor MP
Food bank workers warn that food poverty increases suicide risk
Melanie Hudson, 47, of the Slade Green Food Bank in south-east London, says the rising cost of living is “crippling” them.
She said: “We are watching the numbers go up again. Many more workers are present because they find it the most difficult.
“The demand paralyzes us.
Mélanie fears that her food bank will have to close
“It’s so hard to see people burst into tears because they’re struggling so much.”
Ms Hudson said that on some days the food bank is forced to close because it runs out of food.
And without additional funding, Ms Hudson fears the food bank may have to close permanently.
She also fears for the well-being of people in food poverty.
Ms Hudson said: ‘We are going to see suicides, murders, domestic violence and child deaths increase because of all of this.