Trussell Trust food banks handed out more than 1.2 million emergency food parcels during the first six months of the Covid-19 pandemic, the charity has reported, with more than 470,000 going to children.
2,600 emergency food parcels were provided for children every day on average by food banks in the Trussell Trust’s network between 1st April and 30th September 2020.
The Trust said the record-breaking figures revealed the scale of support during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, which was the busiest half-year period for food banks on record.
However, the charity warned these figures do not include the number of people helped by the countless new community organisations, independent food banks and local authorities, which have stepped up to help others during the pandemic.
The Trussell Trust is now asking anyone who wants to ‘end the injustice of people needing food banks’ to join the campaign for a Hunger Free Future.
Emma Revie, chief executive of the Trussell Trust, said: “Communities across the country have provided vital support; 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.
“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.
“But this pandemic has shown the unexpected can hit us suddenly, with devastating consequences. But it’s also shown we can make huge changes to the way we live and look after each other. It’s time to we did more to build a hunger free future.”
The trust is asking the Government to ensure money is kept in the pockets of people who need it most by locking in the £20 rise to Universal Credit, brought in at the start of the pandemic, and making sure that people excluded get this money too.
It also urges the Government to help people hold on to more of their benefits by suspending benefit debt deductions until a fairer approach to repayments can be introduced.
To join Hunger Free Future, see: www.trusselltrust.org/hunger-free-future/