Struggling parents are starving themselves for up to WEEK so they can afford to feed their children, a foodbank manager has claimed.
Manager Matt Dobson, from Bristol Foodbank, says some parents, many of whom are in full-time employment, are arriving at the charity showing symptoms of hunger and starvation such as dizzyness because they’ve hardly eaten for an entire week.
He also claims that some parents are so hungry when visiting the foodbank that they devour the contents of food parcels in front of others and before leaving the center.
Speaking to Bristol Live, Mr Dobson said: “Some go up to a week without food.
“Parents will feed their kids but go without themselves.
“Parents want to look after their families and they are not always able to and it is heartbreaking for them.
“When they come to us they are quite desperate.
“They feel ashamed they have to come to us.
“We want everyone to feel welcome. Anyone can fall into a crisis.
“We have people on hand to talk to them, homemade cake and we offer support.”
Figures released last November by the UK’s largest foodbank network Trussell Trust warned of a 13% increase in foodbank use in arrears where Universal Credit had been rolled-out.
Universal Credit merges six social security benefits, including tax credits and housing benefit, into one single monthly payment and has faced strong criticism from across the political divide.
The charity also warned that this trend is likely to continue unless the five week minimum wait for a first Universal Credit payment is reduced.
Commenting on the statistics, Emma Revie, Chief Executive of The Trussell Trust said: “We created systems like our national health service, fire service and benefits system because we’re a country that believes in protecting each other.
“Our benefits system is supposed to anchor any of us from being swept into poverty, but if Universal Credit is to do that, we need to see urgent changes.
“It’s not right that people are being forced to use foodbanks after weeks of waiting for Universal Credit payments.”
She continued: “We’re seeing soaring levels of need at foodbanks. The time to act is now.
“If the five week wait isn’t reduced, the only way to stop even more people being forced to foodbanks this winter will be to pause all new claims to Universal Credit, until funding is in place to reduce the five week wait.
“Foodbanks cannot continue to pick up the pieces – we have to make sure our benefits system can protect people from hunger.”