“I want to build a country where ideally nobody needs to use food banks,” Rishi Sunak said during the summer leadership contest.
But as we head into the winter, the pressure is mounting for the new Prime Minister to make this aspiration a reality, with the cost-of-living crisis forcing more and more people to use food banks.
The Trussell Trust, a charity tackling food poverty, revealed food banks are giving out more food than is being donated to them.
As a result, the charity has launched their first Emergency Fund Appeal to help food banks meet the huge increase in demand.
CEO of Hackney foodbank, Pam, said: “Food donations have dropped by nearly 50% so we’re having to buy food.
“Last year we spent almost nothing on food, this year we spent £125,000 on food and next year we’re estimating to spend £250,000 and that means we’re going to have to cap who we can help.
“I don’t want to be in the business of rationing but if we can’t afford that, what can we do?”
The Trussell Trust revealed food banks are preparing for their most difficult winter yet, with 7000 emergency food parcels expected to be handed out per day over the next six months.
The charity is urging the UK government to take urgent action as food banks face ‘breaking point’.
Grace Wyld, a member of the policy research team at the Trussell Trust said: “While charities will do everything they can to support people facing financial hardship, they cannot and should not be expected to pick up the pieces for the UK government and an increasingly threadbare social security system.”
Emma Reive, chief executive at the Trussell Trust added: “We are calling for the Prime Minister to act decisively.
“We urge the UK government to realise their commitment of supporting people on the lowest income with a broad package of support. As well as ensuring that benefits rise with inflation as soon as possible, this must go further to close the gap between price rises and incomes over the winter.”
The charity, which represents a network of more than 1,300 foodbanks, revealed 320,000 people have been forced to use a food bank over the last six months, a 40% increase compared to 2021.
As the levels of need for food outstrip donations for the first time in history, food banks resources are being stretched to unmanageable levels.
With the situation expected to worsen over the coming months, food banks are pulling out all the stops to help people on the lowest incomes.
Chris Price, CEO at Pecan and member of Southwark foodbank, said: “We know that our numbers are going to go up in the foodbank this winter.
“We’re changing our main reception area in Peckham high street into a free, drop-in café so people can come in to get support, advice and friendship.
“It’s not just the food that’s the issue but a lot of people will feel lonely and stressed with that situation.”
If you are able to donate, you can support the Trussell Trust’s emergency appeal by donating funds to help support people this winter.