2,600 food parcels provided for children every day in first six months of the pandemic

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 2,600 food parcels provided for children every day in first six months of the pandemic  

  • Food banks in the Trussell Trust’s UK network saw a shocking 47% increase in need during the crisis, building on record need experienced during the same period last year
  • The charity warns these figures are the tip of the iceberg, as many people will have been helped by other community groups
  • Welcome steps have been taken by the UK government but longer-term action is needed, and the Trussell Trust is calling for people to join the campaign to build a Hunger Free Future

New figures released today reveal 2,600 emergency food parcels were provided for children every day on average by food banks in the Trussell Trust’s network during the first six months of the pandemic. 

More than 1.2 million emergency food parcels were given to people struggling to afford essentials by food banks in the Trussell Trust’s UK-wide network between 1st April and 30th September 2020, making it the busiest ever half-year period for food banksover 470,000 of these parcels went to children.  

While the figures highlight the level of need across the UK, the charity warns their new figures do not include the number of people helped by the countless new community organisations, independent food banks and local authoritieswhich have stepped up during the pandemic to support their communities. 

The Trussell Trust is asking anyone who wants to ‘end the injustice of people needing food banks’ to join the campaign for a Hunger Free Future.

Emma Revie, chief executive of the Trussell Trust, explains:  

“Throughout 2020, communities across the country have stepped in to provide vital support to people left without enough money. Volunteers in food banks have been working hard under extremely difficult circumstances to make sure support is there for people struggling to afford essentials. But it’s not right that any of us are forced to a charity for food, at any time of year.

“In the last few weeks, we’ve seen incredible compassion and concern for people facing hunger following Marcus Rashford’s brilliant campaigning. And it’s hugely welcome to see the government build on steps already taken by providing significant new funding for local councils in England. This vital local support must work in coordination with a national welfare system that is strong enough to act as a lifeline to anyone struggling to afford the essentials.

“This pandemic has shown the unexpected can hit us suddenly, with devastating consequences for people’s lives. But it’s also shown we can make huge changes to the way we live and look after each other. It’s shown that when we come together to push for change, the government responds. Together, we can build a hunger free future.”

The Trussell Trust has welcomed recent steps made by the government to prevent people from falling into destitution – including the announcement of the £170m Covid Winter Grant Scheme for England which is an important boost for local welfare assistance the charity has campaigned for.  

But the charity is concerned that food banks in its network may still see high levels of need over the winter and beyond – particularly as redundancies recently hit a record highdoubling since the previous quarter. It’s asking the government to ensure money is kept in the pockets of people who need it most by: 

  • Locking in the £20 rise to Universal Credit, brought in at the start of the pandemic, and making sure that people currently excluded, such as people receiving payments through the legacy system, get this money too  
  • Helping people hold on to more of their benefits by suspending benefit debt deductions until a fairer approach to repayments can be introduced 



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

Notes to editors   

  • Between 1st April 2020 and 30st September 2020, food banks in the Trussell Trust’s UK-wide network provided 1,239,399 emergency parcels to people in crisis. 470,854 of these parcels went to children. 
  • These parcels were distributed by over 1,350 distribution centres operating in 295 local authority areas in the UK.  
  • This is a 47% increase on the same period last year, when 843,655 emergency supplies were provided to people in crisis. 309,090 of these supplies went to children. 
  • During this period in 2020, on average 2,573 emergency parcels were distributed to children every day.  
  • The top three reasons for someone being referred to a food bank in the Trussell Trust’s network during April to September were low income (47%), benefit delays (9%) and sickness/ill-health (6%)  
  • ‘Emergency food parcel’: this typically is a three-day parcel containing emergency food for one person. During the crisis food banks have also been distributing seven-day parcels. For this release the Trussell Trust have simply combined both three-day and seven-day parcels together to report the total number of emergency food parcels that were distributed. 
  • The increase in the total volume of food given out to support people therefore outstrips the number of parcels distributed. In comparison to the same period in 2019 there was a 59 per cent increase in the total weight of food distributed 
  • These statistics are a measure of volume rather than unique individuals.  
  • Trussell Trust figures cannot be used to fully explain the scale of food bank use across the UK, because figures relate to food banks in the network and not to the hundreds of independent food banks. Research from the Independent Food Aid Network shows there are at least 946 independent food banks, with many other organisations also distributing emergency food during the pandemic.  
  • Redundancies increased by a record 181,000 between Q2 2020 and Q3 2020, a 138% increase. https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/employmentandemployeetypes/bulletins/uklabourmarket/november2020  


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 1,300 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: https://www.trusselltrust.org/news-and-blog/latest-stats/   
  • The Trussell Trust’s food bank network brings together volunteers, staff and supporters of all faiths and none to make a difference. Local churches play a vital part in this work, with around 12,000 churches actively involved in donating food, and providing venues, volunteers and financial support for food banks.  
  • You can read more about our work at trusselltrust.org