Demand for food banks to increase further as cost-of-living crisis worsens

Food bank charities are being advised to brace themselves for further increases in demand for their services as the cost-of-living crisis worsens this summer, a survey is suggesting.

The survey found that more than one in ten (12%) people have friends or family facing food poverty, which is defined as struggling to buy enough nutritious food for their family or having to use a food bank.

A quarter (26%) know people struggling to pay their bills and for petrol or diesel. A fifth say they have friends or family experiencing fuel poverty.

Food bank services will need extra funding to not only meet demand but also to tackle their own soaring costs, the figures suggest.

However just 4% of those surveyed said they have donated to food banks over the last month, with a median average of £10 given.

“The cost of food is increasing rapidly around the world and is set to worsen over the next few months,” said Alison Taylor, chief executive of CAF bank and charity services, which has published the survey.

“For those that can, we would encourage putting a few extra items in your basket for the growing number of families who rely on food banks. There are usually donation points in supermarkets or local collection services.”

“In addition to keeping up the food supply for the increasing number of people who are relying on them, food banks are also seeing their own bills go up with the cost of fuel and utilities.”

Dawn Stanford, operations director at Tunbridge Wells area based Nourish Community Foodbank, is expecting to see a spike in demand over the summer school holidays, as parents whose children are eligible for free school meals face extra costs for childcare and food.

“Children going without food during the summer holidays is sadly a UK wide issue, and in the boroughs of Tunbridge Wells and Tonbridge and Malling that we support, 21% of children are living in poverty,1 that’s the equivalent of one in every five children you see,” she said.

“We find that it’s the families where both parents are working hard that are hit hardest, as they often need to find extra money for holiday childcare and additional meals. We ask local supporters to help us provide a family with holiday items to supplement their basic food needs.

“This can ensure children can enjoy some fresh lunch bag or picnic items that other children are fortunate to have every day. We believe these small gestures can make the world of difference, each child we help eats healthily and as importantly, gets to feel that they aren’t any different to their peers.”

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