More people than ever expected at foodbanks this Christmas

By agency reporter
November 27, 2018

New data released today (27 November 2018) shows December was the busiest month for foodbanks last year. During December 2017, The Trussell Trust’s network provided 159,388 three-day emergency food supplies to people in crisis; 65,622 of these went to children. This is a 49 per cent increase on the monthly average for the 2017-18 financial year.

The figures reveal the year on year need for foodbanks in December is increasing steeply – the number of food supplies given to people mark a 10 per cent rise from December 2016 when 144,677 were given out.

The charity expects a further rise this year, with increasing levels of foodbank use earlier in the year setting this December up to be the busiest month for foodbanks recorded. As demand increases in the run up to Christmas, The Trussell Trust is asking supporters to donate as early as possible in December to help alleviate pressure from volunteers during its busiest time of the year.

The Trussell Trust says colder weather heaps pressure onto people already in crisis during the winter, increasingly families are unable to cover the basic costs of living such as heating bills, food and other essentials.

The inability of benefit levels to cover essential living costs and issues with payments remain the most common reasons for referral to a foodbank. It adds that the minimum five week wait for a first Universal Credit payment, experienced by those moving onto the new benefits system, has only made matters worse.  

The Trussell Trust’s chief executive Emma Revie said: “Christmas is supposed to be a time for joy but what we’re seeing is the festive period becoming increasingly stressful for more and more people across the country. Our benefits system is supposed protect us all from being swept into poverty – but what we’re seeing is people struggling to heat homes and put food on the table because they simply cannot afford the basics anymore and that just isn’t right.

“We know it doesn’t have to be like this. In the short-term we’re urging the public to donate generously during the first part of December and into the new year, as unfortunately the need for foodbanks is not going to end after Christmas.

“Ultimately, it’s unacceptable that anyone should have to use a foodbank in the first place. We do not want to be here in the long-term, continuing to pick up the pieces. That’s why we’re urging the Government to ensure benefits payments reflect the cost of living and reduce the waiting time for Universal Credit to help ensure we are all anchored from poverty.”

The Trussell Trust has launched its Christmas campaign to help raise funds to support its network of foodbanks. The charity relies on voluntary donations to support its network of foodbanks to provide essential emergency food, offer additional support to tackle the underlying causes of someone’s crisis, and campaign for change to structural drivers of foodbank use.

Trussell Trust figures cannot be used to fully convey the scale of foodbank use or need across the UK, because there are also hundreds of independent foodbanks and other sources of food aid.

* Find your nearest Trussell Trust foodbank and what items of stock are most needed here

* Independent Food Aid Network http://www.foodaidnetwork.org.uk/

* Trussell Trust https://www.trusselltrust.org/

[Ekk/6]

Although the views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Ekklesia, the article may reflect Ekklesia's values. If you use Ekklesia's news briefings please consider making a donation to sponsor Ekklesia's work here.