UK food banks fear busiest summer ever is ahead

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New figures released by the Trussell Trust reveal 20% increase in emergency food parcels for children in the UK last summer

The Trussell Trust is urging the public to donate food to their local food bank, as new figures show 87,496 food parcels went to children in the UK during the summer holidays in 2018, a 20% increase on the same period in 2017.*

Over a third of all emergency food parcels distributed by food banks in the Trussell Trust’s UK-wide network go to children, but there is extra financial pressure during the holiday period for families who are entitled to free school meals during term time.

The figures come against a backdrop of soaring food bank use in UK. In 2018-19, food bank use escalated throughout the year with a 19% total increase**, and it is expected this trend will continue, prompting concerns that this summer will be the Trussell Trust network’s busiest to date.

Ahead of schools across England*** and Wales breaking up next week, the Trussell Trust is urging people check what items their local food bank is most in need of.

While these donations are vital for helping families during the next six weeks, the charity has stressed food banks are not a long-term solution, and more must be done to ensure people have enough money for essentials like food.

The Trussell Trust believes tackling delays and gaps in benefits, which affect families’ ability to afford essentials, should be treated as a priority by the Government. The most immediate relief for thousands of people would be to end the five week wait for a first Universal Credit payment, a key driver of need at food banks in the charity’s network.

The Trussell Trust’s chief executive Emma Revie said:

“Food banks will do all they can to help families over the summer, with many running holiday clubs to support parents who find that their income simply won’t stretch to meet the extra pressure of missing free school meals or paying for additional childcare during the holidays. But no charity can replace the dignity of having enough money for the basics.

“While it’s great to see schemes in place to tackle holiday hunger, food banks and other emergency food provision cannot, and must not, be a long term solution to poverty. Ultimately, we should all be protected from needing a food bank’s help, no matter the time of the year.

“If we are to end hunger in the UK, we need to make sure everyone is anchored from being swept into poverty. The Government needs to ensure benefit payments reflect the true cost of living and work is secure, paying the real Living Wage. Every family should have enough money coming in for a decent standard of living. No child should face going hungry in the UK.”



Contact the Trussell Trust Press Office at 020 3137 3699 or [email protected]

Notes to Editor

The Trussell Trust’s #5WeeksTooLong campaign is calling for an end to the 5+ week wait for Universal Credit.

  • ‘Emergency food parcel’: three days’ emergency food for one person. These statistics are a measure of volume rather than unique individuals. Recent analysis shows on average people need around two food bank referrals in a year. More information about the way this data is gathered and what it can and can’t show here.

About the Trussell Trust:

  • We’re here to end the need for food banks in UK.
  • We support a UK-wide network of more than 1,200 food bank centres and together we provide emergency food and support to people locked in poverty, and campaign for change to end the need for food banks in the UK.
  • Our most recent figures for the number of emergency food supplies provided by our network:
  • You can read more about our work at


*Number of food parcels to adults and children for the summer holidays in the UK


Food parcels to adults and children for summer holidays 2017 (Jul 1 – Aug 31) Food parcels to adults and children for summer holidays 2018 (Jul 1 – Aug 31) % change 2017-2018



Adults 128,918 151,700 17.7%
Children 73,226 87,496 19.5%
Total 202,144 239,196 18.3%


**Figures from food banks in the Trussell Trust network for 2018/19


  • Between 1st April 2018 and 31st March 2019, food banks in The Trussell Trust’s network provided 1,583,668 emergency supplies to people in crisis. 577,618 of these supplies went to children.
  • This is an 18.8% increase on the previous year, when 1,332,952 emergency supplies went to people in crisis; 484,026 of these went to children.

***Number of food parcels to adults and children for the 2018 school summer holidays in England (July 22 – August 31)


Region Adults Children Total Total % increase from 2017
South West 8,622 5,610 14,232 15.79%
South East 9,069 5,410 14,479 13.94%
North East 4,835 2,829 7,664 26.30%
North West 14,804 9,268 24,072 23.50%
London 10,682 6,166 16,848 25.88%
West Midlands 9,056 5,163 14,219 22.54%
East Midlands 4,726 2,832 7,558 12.02%
East 9,451 6,116 15,567 24.16%
Yorkshire & Humberside 6,091 3,753 9,844 14.49%