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Starving kids a ‘stain on society’ as food bank parcels reach record highs


People packing fresh fruit and veg into plastic bags.

The government may have cut taxes and raised the National Living Wage, but the number of food parcels have reached record highs (Picture: Getty)

More children than ever are relying on foodbank parcels to save them from hunger as more than 1,000,000 were distributed in a record-breaking year.

The number of food parcels handed out by the Trussell Trust has soared in the last five years, doubling to more than 3.1million in the year ending March 2024.

Over a third of those distributed by local foodbanks went to children.

Emma Revie, the foodbank network’s chief executive, said: ‘It’s 2024 and we’re facing historically high levels of food bank need.

‘As a society, we cannot allow this to continue. We must not let food banks become the new norm.’

Val McKie, a former management consultant in the North West, found herself relying on foodbanks after her life took a tragic turn.

Her landlord evicted her not long after her husband died, leaving her ‘destitute’ and couch-surfing as her income dried up.

She said: ‘I was overwhelmed with shame at the situation I was in.

‘I struggled for years before I found the courage and strength to ask for help, these feelings are shared by so many people who need the support of food banks.’

Foodbanks have become a lifeline, soaring during 14 years of Conservative government (Picture: PA)

The number of first-time foodbank users actually dropped from the previous year.

But at 655,000, it’s still a 40% increase on five years ago.

This is despite the government claiming to have saved 1.3million people from falling into poverty with a cost-of-living support package.

It may have raised the National Living Wage and cut taxes, but older people, especially those in rental accommodation, are particularly hard hit by soaring food and energy prices.

A rising cost of living leaves them ‘facing hunger and severe hardship’ as they struggle to afford food and other essentials, the Trussell Trust warned.

The number of parcels given to households containing someone of pension age rose by more than a quarter to 179,000.

Such an ‘alarming’ increase has been seen at Leeds South and East Foodbank, part of the network of more than 1,300.

Foodbanks provide people with canned goods, pantry staples and household essentials like toilet paper (Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire)

Its operations manager, Wendy Doyle, said: ‘Our volunteers are telling us that they are dealing with pensioners who can’t afford to put food on the table due to having to pay higher energy costs and that is the choice they are having to make.’

Foodbank donations are also rising as people chip in what they can to help people falling through the gaps.

Britons donated nearly £1billion in 2023, up by more than £330milllion from the previous year, according to the Charities Aid Foundation.

The average donation rose from £22 to £32 as the same number of people donated more cash.

Chief executive Neil Heslop to say it’s ‘heartwarming’ to see ‘even when times are tough.

Despite finding a lifeline in food parcels, Val sees them as a ‘stain on our society’, symptomatic of a need that …read more

Source:: Metro

      

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