It has been confirmed this morning that a record 1.2 million emergency food parcels were handed out by Trussell Trust foodbanks in the six months of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
According to the charity – which made the announcement across social platforms – from April to September, more than 470,000 of the food parcels were delivered to children, which on average came to around 2,600 every day.
The Trussell Trust says these figures show the scale of support needed during the pandemic.
The figures released however did not include people helped by community organisations, independent food banks, or local authorities.
In its latest report, The Trussell Trust – which runs a network of 1,300 centres across the UK – saw a 47% increase in support needed during the pandemic, and although it welcomed moves by the government to help those struggling, the charity has also called for longer-term action to be taken.
Low income, benefit delays, and sickness or ill health were the top three reasons someone may have been referred to a Trussell Trust food bank between April and September this year.
Emma Revie – Chief Executive of The Trussell Trust – said: “Throughout 2020, communities across the country have stepped in to provide vital support to people left without enough money.
“Volunteers in food banks have been working hard under extremely difficult circumstances to make sure support is there for people struggling to afford essentials, but it’s not right that any of us are forced to a charity for food, at any time of year.
“In the last few weeks, we’ve seen incredible compassion and concern for people facing hunger following Marcus Rashford’s brilliant campaigning, and it’s hugely welcome to see the government build on steps already taken by providing significant new funding for local councils in England.
“This vital local support must work in co-ordination with a national welfare system that is strong enough to act as a lifeline to anyone struggling to afford the essentials.
“This pandemic has shown the unexpected can hit us suddenly, with devastating consequences for people’s lives, but it’s also shown we can make huge changes to the way we live and look after each other.”
The Trussell Trust has also said foodbanks in its network could see high levels of use over the winter as more and more people become redundant.
The charity is expecting to give out an emergency parcel every 9 seconds.
In response to the rising numbers and the projected figures ahead of winter, a government spokesman said: “We are committed to making sure that the most vulnerable in our society are protected and we’ve put in place a strong package of support to ensure children and their families do not go hungry during this pandemic.
“Our additional £400 million of funding includes £170 million to help families stay warm and well-fed this winter, a further £16 million to provide immediate support to frontline food aid charities, and a £220 million Holiday Activities and Food programme.”
You can find out more about The Trussell Trust’s campaign for a ‘Hunger Free Future’ here.