The number of foodbank parcels given out has skyrocketed during pandemic

Support us and go ad-free

The number of emergency food parcels distributed by foodbanks in the UK more than doubled between the start of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic and May, providers say.

There were almost two-and-a-half times as many parcels distributed in May than in February, according to a survey of 191 foodbanks who are part of the Independent Food Aid Network (IFAN).

Some 36,445 three-day packages were given out in February, rising to 90,400 in May.

26,623 people used the participating foodbanks in February, rising to 56,023 people in May.

Comparing May 2020 with May 2019, the number of emergency food parcels distributed increased by 177%, while the number of foodbank users rose 135%.

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

Including responses from 40 venues that did not contribute data for all the previous months in the survey, such as those which started distributing parcels for the first time during the lockdown, a total of 80,489 people were supported in May with 117,639 parcels.

The network believes that need will only rise as measures including the job retention scheme end and the financial impact of the crisis begins to bite.

It is urging the government to stop relying on the compassion of volunteers to fill an “ever-growing gap”.

In a letter to prime minister Boris Johnson, they write: “Many of our teams have been running beyond capacity for months as we have responded to the immediate crisis in extremely challenging circumstances – but the lifting of lockdown does not signal a reprieve for us.

“Unless decisive action is taken, we know that millions of people will continue to face poverty in the coming months and that millions more will join them.”

They are calling for an end to the five week wait for the first Universal Credit payment, the removal of the benefit cap, the end of zero-hours contracts and for the No Recourse to Public Funds condition to be suspended.

Sam Gilchrist, of the West Northumberland Foodbank in Hexham, said they are helping people who have never used a foodbank before, adding: “At this point I can only see a rise in demand on our voluntary services and we are bracing ourselves for further job losses and yet another rise in poverty.”

Anna Taylor, executive director of the Food Foundation, added: “These data show the food insecurity crisis has not peaked. Far from it.”

Sabine Goodwin, IFAN coordinator, said: “Now is the time to focus on what’s causing people to fall into and become trapped in poverty and to address the policies driving foodbank use in the first place.

“The Chancellor’s concessions are welcome but they do not go anywhere near far enough to tackle the desperate crisis that is unfolding.”

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us