Bedford Food Bank usage remains above pre-pandemic levels Bedford News

Demand for emergency food parcels in Bedford remains above pre-pandemic levels, according to new figures.

The Trussell Trust, a charity that fights poverty in the UK, supports the country’s largest network of food banks.

During the coronavirus pandemic, they have seen a dramatic increase in the number of emergency food parcels distributed to people in need nationwide.

In the year ending March, 34% – or 4,588 – of packages distributed in Bedford were delivered to children, up from 2,955 the year before the pandemic

Figures from the charity show 13,401 emergency food parcels were distributed to residents of Bedford in the year to March.

This is an increase from the 9,180 emergency food parcels distributed in the year to March 2021, and 69% from the 7,947 provided in the year to March 2021. March 2020, before the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The charity usually distributes emergency packages containing three days’ worth of food. Since the start of the pandemic, it has also started providing supplies in seven-day packages, to meet a growing need and to limit the number of deliveries.

Across the East of England, 223,962 parcels were delivered from the region’s 194 fulfillment centers in the year ending March.

The Trussell Trust has warned that food bank use has accelerated over the past six months as the rising cost of basic amenities has hit people’s pockets.

Emma Revie, chief executive of the charity, said: “People tell us they are skipping meals so they can feed their children. That they turn off essential devices so that their children can access the Internet to do their homework.

“How can that be fair in a society like ours? And yet, the food banks in our network tell us the situation will only get worse as their communities sink deeper into financial hardship.

“No one’s income should fall so dangerously low that they cannot afford to stay fed, warm and dry.”

In the year to March, 34% – or 4,588 – of packages distributed in Bedford were delivered to children, up from 2,955 the year before the pandemic.

And across the UK as a whole, nearly 2.2million parcels were delivered in the year to March 2022 – down from the 2.6million the previous year, but an increase significant compared to the 1.2 million provided five years ago up to March 2017.

Due to the growing number of independent food banks and the existing work of other organizations and charities, the Trussell Trust warns that its figures do not show the full extent of food poverty in the UK.

The Department for Work and Pensions said it recognizes the pressures on the cost of living and is ‘doing what it can’ to help, such as spending £22bn in the next financial year to support people with energy bills and fuel taxes.

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This notice was published: 2022-04-27 16:12:12

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