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02 May 2012

Hungry families double as economic crisis takes its toll

Hungry families double as economic crisis takes its toll

Churches are being urged to start foodbanks in order to feed the increasing number of families going hungry in their communities.

The economic crisis means the number of families struggling to put food on the table has doubled in the past year, according to new statistics.

UK Christian charity The Trussell Trust said foodbanks had fed 128,697 people in crisis across the country in the past 12 months – up 100 per cent on the previous year. The figures also showed that 45,000 children were fed by foodbanks in 2011-12.

Demand is so high that the Trussell Trust is currently launching two new UK foodbanks every week to meet the growing demand for people in crisis.

In the past year alone, around 100 new foodbanks have sprung up in towns and cities across the UK, bringing the total number up to 201.

Benefit delay was cited as the biggest reason people were referred to foodbanks, followed by low income. Other reasons included delayed wages, domestic violence, illness and an absence of free school meals.

Chris Mould, executive chairman of the Trussell Trust, said: “Foodbanks are seeing people from all walks of life turning to us for help when they hit crisis. The current economic situation means that times are tough for many.

“Every day we meet parents who are skipping meals to feed their children or even considering stealing to stop their children going to bed hungry. It is shocking that there is such a great need for foodbanks in 21st century Britain, but the need is growing.”

Foodbanks are run by groups of churches in partnership with local communities and all food is donated by the public. Around 1.225 tonnes of food were collected last year by 4,360 volunteers.

Mr Mould added: “As the government’s latest budget begins to take effect we anticipate that more people in poverty will be forced to turn to foodbanks for help. We are urging more churches and communities to support and start foodbanks. Our vision is to see a foodbank in every town in the UK, creating a nation where no-one needs to go hungry.”