The Trussell Trust reports food bank use is at an all time high, with over a million 3 day emergency food parcels given out to families in the UK over the last year.
Thirteen million people live below the poverty line in the UK, with individuals going hungry every day for a range of reasons, from benefit delays to receiving an unexpected bill on a low income. Stopping hunger is about more than food though, which is why the trust work with foodbanks to provide a range of new services like money advice and Fuel Banks, helping people to break the cycle of poverty.
It is shocking that we even need foodbanks in the UK at all, and their use is exploding. It has been reported that the DWP is leaving new claimants weeks in between being considered eligible for benefits and receiving their first payments and, instead of offering social care grants or bridging loans to make up the shortfall, they are referring people to foodbanks. In the Tories austerity Britain, hunger is rife. Several vulnerable people have been reported as starving to death this year, and record numbers of children are suffering the effects of malnutrition.
Foodbanks partner with a wide range of care professionals such as doctors, health visitors, social workers and police to identify people in crisis and issue them with a foodbank voucher. Foodbank clients then bring their voucher to a foodbank centre where it can be redeemed for three days’ emergency food. Volunteers meet clients over a warm drink or free hot meal and are able to signpost people to agencies able to solve the longer-term problem.
Foodbanks wouldn’t be able to function without schools, churches, businesses and individuals who donate non-perishable, in-date food to foodbanks, and the 40,000+ strong army of volunteers who sort through it all and pack it into boxes ready for people in need.
There are lots of ways you can help support Trussell Trust- from shopping at or donating to their charity shops, donating to their Christmas appeal, donating food at your local collection point, or donating money to Trussell Trust.
As ever, we encourage you to write to your MP and tell them that over a million people relying on foodbanks is not acceptable in the UK, in 2016.
Image by Debra Torrance
Written by Victoria Pearson