Demand from food banks is exploding | Barnsley Chronicle

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HUNGRY families struggling to make ends meet are relying on food banks in Barnsley in record numbers – after a charity revealed a 60% increase in calls for help since the start of the pandemic.

The Trussell Trust, a charity that fights poverty in the UK, supports the largest network of food banks in the country, including those in the borough under the Fareshare and Barnsley Foodbank Partnership banners.

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

Figures from the charity show 7,265 emergency food parcels were distributed to residents of Barnsley in the year to March at locations in the town centre, Athersley, Darfield, Goldthorpe, Penistone, Royston, Great Houghton, Grimethorpe, Birdwell, Worsbrough and Staincross.

This is an increase from the 6,465 emergency food parcels distributed in the year to March 2021, and 60% from the 4,536 parcels provided in the year to March 2021. in March 2020, before the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The charity usually distributes emergency parcels containing three days of food, but since the start of the pandemic it has also started providing supplies in seven-day parcels in response to growing needs and to limit the number of deliveries.

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, turning off essential devices so they can get their children online to do their homework.

“How can that be fair in a society like ours?

“Food banks in our network tell us this will only get worse as their communities are pushed 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 ending March, 34 per cent – or 2,496 – of parcels distributed in Barnsley went to children, up from 1,710 the year before the pandemic.

Stephanie Peacock, MP for Barnsley East, said she was worried about the impact the cost of living would have on local families.

“The government is simply not doing enough to help ordinary families, many of whom are now struggling to afford basic necessities,” she said.

“Essentials like food became too expensive, gas bills became unaffordable almost overnight, and fuel prices skyrocketed.

“When forced to make choices between eating, heating and leaving the house, many feel that it is not just the cost of living, but the cost of survival, that has become too high. .

“I am aware of the concern this is causing people locally – many have been in touch to let me know how they are doing and have expressed concern that making ends meet is starting to feel impossible.”

Food poverty continues to be extremely high in Barnsley and the town is one of the worst hit places in Yorkshire when it comes to the hunger of its inhabitants.

A study by the University of Sheffield highlighted that 11% of Barnsley’s population – more than 26,000 people – described themselves as “hungry”.

Barnsley Central MP Dan Jarvis added: ‘I would like to congratulate the food banks for their outstanding work in distributing food parcels to families in need.

“However, it is a shocking and shameful accusation against our society that food banks are necessary to prevent hardened families from falling through the cracks of the welfare state.”

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