Food banks gave out 2,600 parcels to children every day on average in the first six months of the pandemic in the UK, and this winter looks set to be our network’s busiest ever.
But we know if we act together, this can change – that’s why we’re calling for everyone to get involved in building a #HungerFreeFuture.
The number of emergency food parcels given
to people in crisis by Trussell Trust food banks
in 1st April – 30th September 2020.
It’s not right that anyone is forced to use a food bank. Our new data shows food banks gave out 2,600 parcels to children every day in the first six months of the pandemic in the UK – and we know this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Number of emergency food parcels distributed by food banks in the Trussell Trust network
“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.”
Primary Reasons for Referral to Trussell Trust food banks in Apr - Sept 2020
The top reasons for referral to a food bank in the Trussell Trust network in April-September 2020 were low income (47%), benefit delays (9%) and sickness/ill health (6%).
**Excluding other which made up 17% of referrals.
What needs to be done
Hunger in the UK isn’t about food, it’s about people not having enough money. As we move into winter, people than ever will need our welfare system to be a lifeline to keep them afloat. That lifeline must be strong enough to protect anyone who needs it.
The government should build on the steps it’s recently taken and help 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
Hunger Free Future
This winter is set to be our network’s busiest ever. But it doesn’t have to be like this – we can build a Hunger Free Future.
If this year has shown us anything, it’s that we can make big changes to the way we live, work and look after each other.
We can right this wrong. We can act together now to make a difference. We can build a Hunger Free Future.
Join the growing movement today to be part of building a #HungerFreeFuture
What do these stats show?
Every year we release statistics about the number of emergency food parcels food banks in our network have provided to people. We release figures for the first six months of the financial year in November, and for the full financial year at the end of April. These figures cover 1st April – 30th September 2020 – for our latest annual figures visit our End of Year Stats page.
You can read more about what these figures show. Read the briefing paper
You can access breakdowns of the data to local authority level. Regional breakdowns
Figures from the Trussell Trust 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 (IFAN) shows there are at least 946 independent food banks, with many other organisations also distributing emergency food during the pandemic. For more information on this please see the detailed data briefing. Read more about IFAN