A record 2.5 million emergency food parcels given to people across UK in the last year

A food bank network has found a record 2.5 million emergency food parcels – equivalent to 2 every minute – were given to people across UK with just under one million going to children.

23/04/21

A record 2.5 million emergency food parcels given to people across UK in the last year

The Trussell Trust has reported that food banks in its UK network gave more than 2.5 million emergency food parcels to people facing crisis between April 2020 and March 2021.

More than 980,000 of these went to children – almost two parcels on average every minute.

Food banks in its network also experienced a 33% increase in need during the past year, with a 36% rise in parcels given for children compared with 2019/20.

The charity warns that with need for emergency food increasing year-on-year, today’s figures highlight an alarming 128% rise compared to this time five years ago. 

This year’s figures are also the first time the number of food parcels distributed has topped two million.

The charity says these figures are “just the tip of the iceberg” with unprecedented numbers of people being helped by other food aid providers and community-based groups that sprang up to provide emergency food during the pandemic. 

The charity says that hunger in the UK is not about food, but rather about people not having enough money for the basics and with high rates of unemployment and record redundancies, with more people than ever need the social security system to provide a strong enough lifeline to stay afloat.

The Trussell Trust is now calling on all levels of government to act, urging candidates standing in the upcoming May elections across England, Scotland, and Wales to commit to working to end the need for food banks and developing a plan to do so.

Emma Revie, Chief Executive of the Trussell Trust, says no one should face the indignity of needing emergency food.

“This pandemic has shown the unexpected can hit suddenly, but we know when we push for change, united by our desire for justice and compassion, the Government has to listen and act.”

Sabine Goodwin, coordinator of the Independent Food Aid Network, said that independent food banks are also continuing to see “relentless need”, and that the combined Trussell Trust and independent food bank figures only represent a fraction of the UK’s food insecurity picture.

“Now more than ever, our social security system needs to be reset, local authority support schemes involving crisis grants prioritised and adequate wages and secure work ensured.”

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