Foodbanks brace for their busiest month as Christmas approaches

The Trussell Trust is calling on the public to help families facing hunger this Christmas as the foodbank network's busiest month of the year begins.

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  • Anti-poverty charity The Trussell Trust calls on people to support their local foodbank to help families facing hunger this Christmas
  • Newly released figures reveal 45% increase in number of three day emergency food supplies provided by Trussell Trust foodbanks last December compared to the monthly average for 2015/16 financial year
  • Analysis of five years of foodbank data by the University of Hull confirms a striking seasonal spike at Christmas

The Trussell Trust is calling on the public to help families facing hunger this Christmas as foodbanks busiest month of the year begins. Newly released figures reveal that during December 2015, The Trussell Trust’s foodbank network provided 133,734 three day emergency food supplies to people in crisis; 56,779 of these went to children. This is a 45% increase on the monthly average of three day emergency supplies provided in the 2015/16 financial year, which was 92,442.

Analysis of five years of Trussell Trust foodbank data by researchers involved in the NEMODE (New Economic Models in the Digital Economy) report from the University of Hull, Coppelia and AAM Associates* shows a spike during the winter months, with the highest number of referrals in the two weeks just before Christmas.

Anna**, a mum of two recently referred to her local Trussell Trust foodbank after the company she worked for closed, said:

“I’ve been really worried I’m going to have to tell my boy Christmas is cancelled this year. I’d never used the foodbank before, never even heard of it. I’ve never claimed anything – I’m dying to go back to work.

“I was really scared when I first went in but at the foodbank they made me feel so welcome – they were absolutely lovely. I took all my paperwork with me and the volunteers put me in touch with the MP and really helped me. The second I can, I’ll be making a donation to the foodbank – I can see the light at the end of the tunnel now.”

Many Trussell Trust foodbanks will already be providing seasonal extras to people referred to them for emergency food, such as festive food hampers alongside the standard three day food parcel or toys and presents for children. Increasingly, foodbanks are also offering support with fuel costs through fuelbanks or fuel voucher schemes, and some even offer warm clothing or blankets to help people fighting the cold.

Adrian Curtis, Foodbank Network Director at The Trussell Trust said:

“Trussell Trust foodbanks have always reported that they provide more support to people in winter, and we anticipate being exceptionally busy again this year.

Last year, one mum at a Trussell Trust foodbank on Christmas Eve burst into tears when the volunteers gave her a teddy bear to give to her young son alongside emergency food; she thought she wouldn’t be able to give him anything for Christmas, and the foodbank was able to provide her family with hope, as well as food for her family.

Sadly, this mum is far from alone. This could be the foodbank network’s busiest Christmas yet, so we would really value any support you can offer as we help stop families and individuals from going hungry this Christmas.”

To make a donation to The Trussell Trust or find out how to help a local foodbank, please visit


Notes to Editor:

For case study interviews, foodbank visits, and expert comment, please contact the Trussell Trust media team on 020 3137 3699 / [email protected]. Out of hours call 07789 642 727.


The Trussell Trust:

  • Every day people in the UK go hungry for reasons ranging from redundancy or bereavement to welfare problems or receiving an unexpected bill on a low income. The Trussell Trust’s network of over 420 foodbanks provides three days’ emergency food and support to people in crisis across the UK.
  • From April 2015 to April 2016, Trussell Trust foodbanks provided 1,109,309 three day emergency food supplies to people in crisis. Of those helped, 415,866 were for children. Trussell Trust statistics are collected using an online data collection system into which foodbanks enter the data from each foodbank voucher. The system records numbers given three-day emergency food supplies. The Trussell Trust is measuring volume – the number of people to whom it has given three days’ food supply (containing enough food for 10 meals), but these are not necessarily unique people. Find out more at .
  • Everyone who comes to a Trussell Trust foodbank is referred by a frontline professional agency like Citizens Advice, housing associations and children’s centres.
  • Trussell Trust foodbanks do much more than food: they provide a listening ear and help resolve the underlying cause of the crisis either through signposting onto relevant local charities or providing on-site immediate support, such as holiday clubs or budgeting and cookery courses.
  • Find out more at


Neighbourhood Food Collection:

  • People can support their local foodbank by donating food at Tesco’s Neighbourhood Food Collection.
  • Tesco us is encouraging people across the UK to donate generously during its biggest ever Neighbourhood Food Collection, which takes place in all Tesco stores from Thursday 1 December until Saturday 3 December.
  • Since the Neighbourhood Food Collection launched in 2012, the equivalent of more than 38 million meals have been donated to people in need by generous Tesco customers.


*Research by the University of Hull’s ‘New Economic Models in the Digital Economy’ (NEMODE) project:

  • Earlier this year The Trussell Trust worked with data scientists, business model specialists and academics from the University of Hull and the commercial sector to create the UK’s first ever dynamic visualisation tool for crises leading to foodbank use, mapping 18 months of foodbank data against deprivation indices from the 2011 census and other open data.
  • For more information on what the initial findings of the research suggests, see the summary report:

** Name changed