Around three million emergency food parcels were distributed in the UK between the start of April 2022 and the end of March 2023, exceeding the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Trussell Trust.
The Trussell Trust, a nationwide charity that supports a network of food banks around the country, has released its end-of-year figures stating that there had been a 37% increase from the same period in 2021/22.
Between the beginning of April and the end of September 2023, food banks in the network distributed almost 1.5 million food parcels to those in need, with over half a million of those parcels being for children.
Chief Executive of the trust, Emma Revie said: “Rising hunger and hardship have devastating consequences for individuals and our communities, damage the nation’s health and hold back our economy.”
Families in the UK are currently facing increased prices on everyday items like food and drink due to inflation.
There has also been a rise in the number of food banks with just under 1,400 supported by the Trussell Trust and approximately 1,172 independent food banks.
However, as the number of people using food banks continues to grow, this has made it harder for existing food banks to cope as there has also been a reduction in food donations and supplies.
Local councils have had to step in to help residents who are struggling to cope.
What is Kingston Council doing?
Kingston Council last year launched Connected Kingston, which helps locals find activities and aid within the area, including ways of accessing food that is either free or low cost.
The Kingston Food Bank uses a voucher system, meaning a voucher can be used in exchange for a minimum of three days of emergency food at your closest food bank.
Those eligible for vouchers include:
- Those who are homeless or at risk of being made homeless – available from Kingston Churches Action on Homelessness.
- Those struggling with debts – available from Citizens Advice Bureau or Christians Against Poverty.
People experiencing delays or changes to their benefit payments should speak to their local job centre who can refer them to Kingston Foodbank.
As well as this, locals have set up enterprises focused on providing affordable meals for those struggling such as Kitchen Roots Community which operates a pay-what-you-can scheme to help improve food insecurity within the local community.
As Christmas approaches, there are a variety of local offerings in and around Kingston to support those worried about how to cope with a variety of aspects of the festive season.