The Trussell Trust has reported its network’s busiest ever period, with 81% more emergency food parcels being given out across the UK, including 122% more parcels going to children, compared to the same period in 2019.
The data shows people struggling with the amount of income they were receiving from working or benefits as the main reason for the increase in need.
A coalition of charities, including the Trussell Trust and Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) is now urging the government to strengthen the anchor it has put in place to help protect many people from being swept into destitution.
The coalition is urgently calling on the government to provide a Coronavirus Emergency Income Support Scheme that supports individuals and families who are already facing or at serious risk of financial hardship.
It also calls on the government to work with charities in the anti-poverty sector to develop this scheme and ensure it can be put in place quickly, treats everyone with dignity, and leaves no-one behind.
'Economic crisis approaching like a tidal wave'
Chief executive of the Trussell Trust Emma Revie has said that the past few weeks have shown "we must come together to protect each other against the unexpected."
"Like a tidal wave gathering pace, an economic crisis is sweeping towards us – but we don’t all have lifeboats," she said. "It’s not right that this has meant some of us don't have enough money for essentials and are being pushed to food banks."
"We need emergency measures to ensure people can makes ends meet during this crisis. We have the power to come together as a country and make sure support is there to stop any of us being swept into poverty during this emergency.”
What does my local food bank need?
Trussell Trust spokesperson Emma Thorogood said that "generally food banks are in need of UHT milk, tinned fish and coffee".
She recommends that those looking to donate look up their postcode on the Trust's donation page to find out what their local food bank is currently short of.
According to the Trussell Trust's official website, a typical food parcel is made up of the following:
- Tinned tomatoes/ pasta sauce
- Lentils, beans and pulses
- Tinned meat
- Tinned vegetables
- Tinned fruit
- UHT milk
- Fruit juice
Many food banks also provide essential non-food items such as toiletries and hygiene products.