Food banks brace for record one million food parcels this winter

“An expected increase on the 220,000 children who accessed food banks last year is nothing short of an emergency”

Food bank Britain

Food banks in the UK are bracing for their ‘worst winter yet’ as more than one million emergency food parcels are expected to be provided from December to February, the Trussel Trust has warned.

The record high numbers predict that an average of one food parcel every eight seconds will be needed, amounting to 7,000 people seeking support a day according to the food bank charity.

“We don’t want to spend every winter saying things at food banks are getting worse, but they are,” said Emma Revie the Chief Executive of the Trussel Trust.

“Food banks are not the answer in the long term, but while we continue to fight for the change that could mean they can be closed for good your local food bank urgently needs your support.”

Last winter 225,000 people used a food bank for the first time. With the Trussel Trust network distributing 904,000 emergency food parcels between December 2022 and February 2024.

Daniel Kebede, General Secretary of the National Education Union (NEU) slammed a government failure to improve living standards and said that an increase on the 220,000 children who used food banks last year would be, “nothing short of an emergency”.

“That food banks are gearing up to support even more people than last winter is a damning sign that the Government has failed to support people through the cost-of-living crisis and presided over a decline in living standards,” said Kebede.

“Poverty and child hunger have tremendous social and moral costs and the Government must act now to reverse this worrying trend.”

Kebede referenced recent research by the COVID Social Mobility and Opportunities (COSMO) study which found children in families that used food banks receive lower GCSE results.

He called for the introduction of free school meals for all children starting at primary school, something Sadiq Khan the Mayor of London has been pushing and managed to secure a City Hall funded free school meals scheme for every state primary school pupil in London starting this September. 

The teachers’ union leader also called for the lifting of the two-child limit, which he said would take 250,000 children out of poverty overnight, as he warned that the Government “must act now” as the “cost of inaction is far greater”.   

A survey of 282 food banks found that in the last three months, 93% had to purchase food to keep up with the rising levels of need. This is with food inflation remaining stubbornly high, having hit its highest rate for 45 years in March, at 19.2%.

These pressures have led to one in three food banks reporting that they are concerned about being able to continue running at their current level in the coming months.

Trussel Trust has encouraged people to donate to food banks in their local community if they can.

Hannah Davenport is news reporter at Left Foot Forward, focusing on trade unions and environmental issues

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