Food banks matter now more than ever – but we have the power to create change

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In the last few months, we’ve all been hit by something outside our control. As the coronavirus pandemic has swept in, its impact has been felt by all of us, in many different ways.

More and more of us are facing financial insecurity, a loss of control, an uncertainty over what our futures might look like.

But while we’re all being hit by the same storm, we’re not all in the same boat. For some, this sweeping lack of control is new and unsettling. For some, this will be a one-off occurrence from which they’ll recover. But for people living in poverty, this feeling isn’t new. It’s all too familiar.

Feeling trapped, facing limited options, and being let down by systems designed to provide support is the norm for millions of people every day.

In the first two weeks of the pandemic, food banks in our network reported an 81% increase in need compared to the same period last year – that’s more than 6,250 food parcels every day, with close to 3,000 of these for children. And as the outbreak continues to develop, it’s likely that more and more people are going to need to use a food bank.

This simply isn’t right.

Recent weeks have shown us how quickly things can change – and how important it is that we hold on to the knowledge that we have the power to drive this change.

No one in the UK should be pushed to a food bank. We’re urging the government to create a Coronavirus Emergency Income Support scheme now to make sure everyone has enough money for the basics, as well as stepping up our work towards a future where food banks are no longer needed.

Poverty isn’t inevitable. People needing food banks isn’t inevitable. And people needing food banks as a result of the coronavirus outbreak isn’t inevitable. We’ve seen the changes our government can make to protect us. We’ve seen the good that happens when we act with justice and compassion to support one another.

Now is the time to build on those foundations. We can fix the structural issues that are locking people in poverty like insecure work, low pay, or problems with the benefits system. The food banks in our network and their incredible volunteers do amazing work, day in, day out. But that work shouldn’t be needed.

Together, we will recover from this pandemic. Together, we can create an even stronger, just society. Together, we know this can change.

If you want to help create a future without the need for food banks, find out more about how you can get involved here.