Dozens of emergency food parcels handed out to children in Chesterfield every week during pandemic
Dozens of emergency food parcels were handed out to children in Chesterfield every week during the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic.
That’s according to a report by the Trussell Trust showing a record 2.5 million parcels were distributed by its network of food banks across the UK in 2020-21.
The charity is urgently calling on UK governments to end the need for food banks “once and for all” amid soaring demand for help from families in crisis.
In Chesterfield the charity handed out 5,215 emergency food parcels over the period.
Of those, 1,378 went to children – equivalent to 27 every week.
The overall figure, which includes parcels with three or seven days’ worth of supplies, was a 12% increase on the total number recorded the previous year.
But the charity warned its data does not come close to revealing the full scale of demand across the country, with unprecedented numbers of people being helped by other organisations that sprang up during the pandemic.
“No one should face the indignity of needing emergency food,” said Emma Revie, chief executive of the Trussell Trust.
“Yet our network of food banks has given out record numbers of food parcels as more and more people struggle without enough money for the essentials.
Across the UK, the 2.5 million parcels handed out in 2020-21 represented a 33% increase on the previous year.
Of those, around 980,000 (39%) went to children.
Sabine Goodwin, coordinator of the Independent Food Aid Network, said that independent food banks across the UK were also seeing “relentless” need for help.
“Now more than ever, our social security system needs to be reset, local authority support schemes involving crisis grants prioritised and adequate wages and secure work ensured,” she added.
A government spokesman said: “We are committed to supporting the lowest-paid families and have targeted support to those most in need by raising the living wage, spending hundreds of billions to safeguard jobs, boosting welfare support by billions, and introducing the £269m Covid Local Support Grant to help children and families stay well-fed.
“We know that getting into well-paid work is the best route out of poverty, and our multi-billion pound Plan for Jobs is helping people across the country re-join the workforce as restrictions are eased.”