Food poverty on the increase in Eastbourne
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Trussell Trust food banks distributed more than 1.2 million parcels across the country between April 1 and September 30 this year, and warned the figures are “the tip of the iceberg”.
In Eastbourne the charity handed out 9,646 emergency food parcels over the six month period - 36 per cent of which were children. This finding means that 134 emergency food packages were handed out to children every week during this period of the pandemic.
The increase up and down the country has meant that it has been the busiest period in the trust’s 23-year history.
Covid has caused people and businesses to struggle with the changes imposed on everyday life - resulting in people having to turn to food banks.
Demand is expected to increase as redundancies recently hit a record high too. The trust said the top three reasons for someone being referred to a food bank were low income, benefit delays and sickness or ill health.
The Trussell Trust said the figures do not include the number of people helped by community organisations, independent food banks and local authorities.
Emma Revie, the charity’s chief executive, said volunteers have been working hard to support people in need, but said it is “not right that any of us are forced to use a charity for food, at any time of year”.
She said, “In the last few weeks we’ve seen incredible compassion and concern for people facing hunger following Marcus Rashford’s brilliant campaign and it’s hugely welcoming 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.”
A spokesperson for the Department for Work and Pensions 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 £220 million for the Holiday Activities and Food programme.”
Anyone wanting information about how to support the trust, or wanting to seek help, visit: https://www.trusselltrust.org/