WORCESTER Foodbank has once again recorded a sharp rise in food supplies given to local people in need of help.
Latest statistics published by The Trussell Trust foodbank network show UK-wide foodbank figures are still not decreasing.
Problems caused by the welfare system are continuing to drive a rise in the number of people being forced to turn to Worcester Foodbank for emergency food.
New figures released on Tuesday (April 25) reveal that 5,536 food parcels were provided to local people in crisis by the city’s foodbank during 2016/17, compared to 4,277 during the previous year.
More than 1,800 of these parcels were needed to feed children living in food poverty.
The top three reasons people were referred to the Lowesmoor charity were benefit delays and changes (41 per cent), low income (32 per cent) and debts (seven per cent).
Worcester Foodbank has only been able to meet the increasing demand thanks to the generosity of local people who have donated 56 tonnes of food in the past year, but the pressure is again taking its toll on the charity’s dwindling stock.
Grahame Lucas, Worcester Foodbank Manager, said: “It is deeply concerning that we are still seeing an increase in the number of referrals and there appears to be no light at the end of the tunnel.”
“What is particularly alarming is the steady rise in people being forced to turn to us because of problems surrounding benefit payments.
“Emergency food is little more than a sticking plaster. We have to address the root causes of food poverty if we are serious about ending it.”
As well as providing emergency food to people in crisis, Worcester Foodbank offers essentials like washing powder, nappies and sanitary products to families who are struggling, as well as signposting them to other services that can help in tackling debt or other problems they may be facing.
Despite generous donations of food, there are many hidden costs to run the foodbank.
These include renting warehouse space to sort and stock donated food and other overheads like utilities and insurances.
Worcester Foodbank welcomes any new offers of help with funding – local businesses, organisations and individuals interested in supporting the foodbank’s work can find out more at worcester.foodbank.org.uk