Emergency food parcels hit record 3.1m in a year, says charity

The Trussell Trust donated a record 3.1m emergency food parcels to its network of 1,300 food banks in a year.

According to the charity, this figure marks almost double the number compared to five years ago as well as the most parcels ever distributed by the network in a year.

Some 1.1m food parcels were handed out to children in the year to the end of March 2024, while nearly two million were for adults.

It comes as demand remains “historically high”, with just under three million food parcels having been given out in the 12 months to March 2023.

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This year, the amount of first-time users saw a slight decline to 655,000, however this still represents a 34% increase since the same time five years ago.

While England experienced a 5% increase in the distribution of emergency food parcels over the period when compared to the previous year, Northern Ireland experienced the largest rise at 11%.

Areas in England with the largest increase include Yorkshire and the Humber, as well as London, followed by the East of England, the South West and the North West.

While regions including the East Midlands, the North East, the South East and the West Midlands saw a slight decrease in the number of food parcels provided, the trust said that the figure across these four areas is still twice as high in the last year as it was five years ago.

The Trussell Trust chief executive Emma Revie said: “It’s 2024 and we’re facing historically high levels of food bank need. As a society, we cannot allow this to continue. We must not let food banks become the new norm.”

It comes as she has called on political leaders to set out how they will “build a future where no one needs a food bank to survive” at the next UK general election.

“Voters want to see a change and we need cross-government action at all levels to deliver it. We know what’s pushing people to food banks, so we know what needs to change.

“Food banks are not the answer. They will be there to support people as long as they are needed, but our political leaders must take bold action to build a future where everyone has enough money to afford the life’s essentials. The time to act is now.”



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