Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Foodbanks plead for donations as thousands of children go hungry thanks to benefit cuts

Trussell Trust reports a surge in demand for emergency food as parents struggle to feed children during the Summer break.

The UK’s largest foodbank network has issued an urgent plea for donations from caring members of the public, as it struggles to meet rising demand for emergency food parcels over the school Summer holiday.

Last year, Trussell Trust provided 204,525 three day emergency supplies to families in crisis during July and August, 74,011 of which went to children. In comparison, the charity helped to feed 70,510 children during the previous two months.

With schools closed for the holidays, many parents are finding it difficult to afford the extra cost of food.

Low-income households are also struggling to cope with the combined impact of years of Tory austerity, coupled with the fact children from low income homes are missing out on free school meals whilst away for the Summer.

Together, these have led to a rise in demand for food parcels, prompting the Trussell Trust to ask the public to check with foodbanks to see what donations are most needed in their local area.

A near empty food cupboard. Photo: Oxfam.

The charity says that whilst these donations are essential, the Government should also act by ensuring families have a sufficient income to cover basic living costs – such as food, energy, and housing costs.

In particular, the Trussell Trust are calling on the Government to end the freeze on child benefits and allow low-income working families to keep more of their earnings before Universal Credit payments are reduced.

Samantha Stapley, Director of Operations at The Trussell Trust, said: “Foodbanks cannot, and must not, be a long term to solution to hunger at any time of year.

“No one should face going hungry, and although our network will be doing all they can this summer to help families struggling to make the money they have stretch to cover the essentials, no charity can replace people having enough money for the basics.

“There are changes we can make as a nation to help during the holidays, but if we are to protect each other from hunger whatever the time of year, we have to go further than that.

“We know particular groups of people are most likely to need a foodbank, so let’s make sure no one is swept into destitution.

“Our benefits system can, and must, act as an anchor to protect people from being pulled into poverty.”

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