More families continue to use food banks as they are struggling to feed their families. The national charity organisation, the Trussell Trust, has reported they have passed out 13% more parcels of food over the last six months, from April 1, 2018 to September 30, 2018. Many of the people using the network are on a low income, waiting on benefits such as Universal Credit, have had benefits sanctioned, or they have lost their jobs.
Trussell Trust is the leading food bank network in the United Kingdom. They operate distribution centres in over 1200 different locations across the UK, including in churches, charities, and other places. Trussell Trust has centres in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales, and all countries in the UK. But they are only one of the many charities that helps the poor.
Demand from April 1 to September 30, 2018
Since Trussell trust is the largest network in the UK, the data provided by this organization is the most relevant. Although there are hundreds of other independent food banks and soup kitchen too in different cities and boroughs as reported by the Independent Food Aid Network. However the data from Trussell Trust shows that they have provided 13% more parcels of food, most of which have 3 days worth of groceries in them.
The organisation also reports on why families are turning to the network, and this data is from September 2018. The number one reason is due to welfare benefits not providing enough support for the family to cover their food needs. In fact, 31% of people say they can’t afford their housing, energy bills, and other living costs from benefits, so they turn to a local food bank. The second biggest reason (17%) is due to benefits being sanctioned.
While the GDP in the UK is positive, and the economy has been growing for years, the poor are struggling to keep up. With welfare benefits being cut back, wages not keeping up with inflation, and due to other reasons, the Trussell Trust is one of the main organisations that is being turned to for help.
One of the saddest parts is that about 1/3 of the people who need free food have children. About 233,000 of the 658,000 parcels of groceries passed out went to families with children. This means that children are suffering due to the financial hardship of their parents (or single mum or dad).
Food is one of the basic needs of people, and is just as important as shelter, medical needs, water/heat, and the like. If someone can’t afford to feed their family, how many other bills have gone unpaid in 2018? How many are on the verge of homelessness, or maybe they can’t keep their electric on or home warm? The crisis in the UK is extensive.