Thousands turning to food banks to relieve their hunger

David Pickles, Carol Cain, Janet Burns and Marie Slater from a Foodbank in Knottingley. (P602a402)
David Pickles, Carol Cain, Janet Burns and Marie Slater from a Foodbank in Knottingley. (P602a402)

Thousands of people have needed food banks in our district to relieve their hunger.

New figures reveal the high numbers of three-day emergency food supplies given to adults and children over the last financial year.

In Normanton, 154 overall have turned to the Trussell Trust food bank for help. In Pontefract 1,605 people, including 599 children, have turned to the trust. And Knottingley’s service has handed 1,602 people, including 570 children, emergency packs.

Across the UK, the Trussell Trust handed out a record 1.1 m packages at its 424 food banks –with increases at almost half of them owing to the crippling effects of benefit sanctions and delays, low wages, high living costs and insecure work contracts.

Trust chief executive David McAuley said the “figures on national food bank use prove that the numbers of people hitting a crisis where they cannot afford to buy food are still far too high. One million three-day food supplies given out by our food banks every year is one million too many.

“Reducing UK hunger will require a collective effort from the voluntary sector, government, businesses and the public, and the Trussell Trust is keen to work with all these groups to find solutions that stop so many people needing food banks in future.”

In Yorkshire, food bank use has more than doubled in the last three years to record levels. More than 65,000 packages were handed out at the Trussell Trust’s 25 food banks in the region over the last financial year – eight per more than in 2014/15 and more than double that of 2013/14, when 32,607 emergency supplies were given to people in crisis by the charity in Yorkshire.

University of Hull researchers, who collaborated with the trust, found links between food bank use and areas with high numbers of people who are in skilled manual work or unable to work due to long term illness or disability.