Coronavirus sparks record use of UK food banks: charity

Britain’s food banks, providing donated essential items to the country’s most vulnerable people, are experiencing record use as the coronavirus outbreak forces more people into poverty, a charity said Friday.

The Trussell Trust said its network of food banks — a common feature across Britain since the global financial crisis more than a decade ago — saw an 81-percent surge in the amount of emergency parcels handed out in the second half of March.

This coincided with Britain going into lockdown over the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Trust, which has a national network of 1,200 food banks, reported its “busiest ever period, with… 122 percent more parcels going to children, compared to the same period in 2019”, it said in a joint statement with other charities.

While the coalition of support groups praised “the government for a series of significant measures swiftly brought in” over the coronavirus fallout — such as increasing benefit amounts — it urged the state “to build on its work so far and make the changes needed to ensure each and every one of us has enough money for essentials”.

Trussell Trust chief executive Emma Revie said it needed “emergency measures to ensure people can makes ends meet during this crisis.

“We have the power to come together as a country and make sure support is there to stop any of us being swept into poverty during this emergency,” she added.

The Independent Food Aid Network meanwhile also reported a surge in the use of food banks it runs.

“The solution is not in trying to distribute more food parcels but in providing sufficient income to the huge numbers of people impacted by this crisis and the poverty that preceded it,” said IFAN coordinator Sabine Goodwin. (AFP)