Food banks could be facing their busiest ever summer holidays, the Trussell Trust have warned.
The organisation, which supports an estimated two-thirds of all food banks across the the UK, released new figures this morning (Tuesday, July 16), revealing the number of food parcels handed out to children grew by more than 20 per cent in just a year.
Across the South West, a total of 12,291 food parcels were handed out to adults and children during the 2017 summer holidays – a figure which had grown by almost 2,000 by the 2018 summer holidays to 14,232.
The number of children who received parcels during the summer holidays rose by 20.6 per cent in the South West, with the Trussell Trust handing out a total of 5,610 packages.
Emma Revie, the Trussell Trust’s chief executive, said: “Food banks will do all they can to help families over the summer, with many running holiday clubs to support parents who find that their income simply won’t stretch to meet the extra pressure of missing free school meals or paying for additional childcare during the holidays. But no charity can replace the dignity of having enough money for the basics.
“While it’s great to see schemes in place to tackle holiday hunger, food banks and other emergency food provision cannot, and must not, be a long term solution to poverty. Ultimately, we should all be protected from needing a food bank’s help, no matter the time of the year.
“If we are to end hunger in the South West, we need to make sure everyone is anchored from being swept into poverty. The Government needs to ensure benefit payments reflect the true cost of living and work is secure, paying the real Living Wage.
“Every family should have enough money coming in for a decent standard of living. No child should face going hungry in the UK.”
In response to the massive demand, the Trussell Trust are asking people to take the time over the following week to look up what local food banks are short of, and do their bit to make sure some of the most vulnerable families in Bristol have access to the items they need most.
You can look up your nearest food bank by clicking here.
In May it was revealed that as many as 11,000 children in Bristol could be at risk of facing ‘holiday hunger’ this summer, following Government cuts to a range of summer holiday projects administered through charity feeding Bristol.
One in five children in Bristol receive free school dinners during term time, which means that they face going hungry during the long six-week break. More than a third of all emergency food parcels distributed by the Trussell Trust in the UK go to children.
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An urgent appeal for volunteers was put out by food distribution charity FareShare South West in June, asking people to help distribute some 40,000 meals throughout the summer to children at risk of hunger during their summer holidays.
The Trussell Trust are dedicated to ending hunger in the UK, with the charity stressing that food banks are not a long-term solution to the poverty faced by families across the country and pushing for more to be done in order to ensure that people have access to money for the essentials.
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