Food banks report record spike in need as the coronavirus pandemic unfolds

During the last two weeks of March, food banks in the Trussell Trust network saw a soaring 81% increase in need for emergency food parcels, compared to the same period in 2019.

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Food banks in the Trussell Trust network reported their busiest ever period in the last two weeks of March. They experienced an 81% increase in need for emergency food parcels, including 122% more parcels going to children compared to the same period last year – that’s over 6,250 food parcels provided to people in crisis every day, with close to 3,000 parcels provided for children each day during the fortnight.

Key Stats highlight


Over 6,250

food parcels per day


Over 2,775

food parcels for children
– every day


122% increase

in food parcels for children 
(compared to the same period in 2019)

This is not right.

Food banks are working incredibly hard to continue to provide emergency food safely to people who cannot afford to buy the essentials – but they cannot continue to pick up the pieces.

Although recent measures brought in by the government have been huge boosts we need the government to strengthen the anchor it has already put in place to help protect many people from being swept into destitution.

We’ve joined forces with other anti-poverty charities to call for a strong lifeline to be thrown to anyone who needs it.

A new coalition of charities, including the Trussell Trust, IFAN, Child Poverty Action Group, Children’s Society, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, StepChange, and Turn2us, is urging the government to provide a Coronavirus Emergency Income Support Scheme to help the nation weather the storm of this pandemic.
Read our joint letter to the Chancellor here.

“The last few weeks have shown we must come together to protect each other against the unexpected. Like a tidal wave gathering pace, an economic crisis is sweeping towards us – but we don’t all have lifeboats. It’s not right that this has meant some of us don’t have enough money for essentials and are being pushed to food banks. Now is the time to build on the foundations our government has laid. We need emergency measures to ensure people can makes ends meet during this crisis. We have the power to come together as a country and make sure support is there to stop any of us being swept into poverty during this emergency.”

Emma Revie – CEO the Trussell Trust

More than 1.8 million people have applied for Universal Credit in recent weeks, and it is likely that more and more individuals and families are going to need to use food banks as the outbreak develops. We’re calling on the government to support people who are already facing or are at serious risk of financial hardship. We’re asking the government to work with charities in the anti-poverty sector to develop this scheme and ensure it can be put in place quickly, treats everyone with dignity, and leaves no one behind.

Together, we’re calling for a Coronavirus Emergency Income Support Scheme that includes:

  • Increasing benefits that go to families to help with the costs of raising children
  • Extending the suspension of benefit deductions to cover Advance Payments
  • Lifting the benefit cap and two-child policy to ensure this support scheme benefits everyone
  • Ensuring local authorities in England can provide effective crisis support to individuals and families.

If you want to help, you can get involved by

Ask your MP to back Coronavirus Income Support

We need MPs of all parties to back our call by writing to the Chancellor. Use our form to send your MP a message to let them know why you think the government needs to do more.

Ask your MP now

Find out other ways you can help

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