The Trussell Trust says it has been giving out more than 5,100 emergency food parcels every day to families who are struggling to eat.
During the six months to September this year, the charity demand for food was 11 per cent higher than in the same period in 2019. The Trust says the need for emergency food remains well above pre-pandemic levels and is set to increase even further - it expects to be supplying more than 7,000 food parcels every day in December.
Families with children have been hit the hardest, with food parcels for children increasing at double the rate for adults, compared to pre-pandemic levels. Between April and September 2021, almost 2,000 parcels were provided for children every day on average, compared to almost 1,700 in 2019. On average the Trussell Trust network distributed over three parcels to people in crisis every minute during this period.
An emergency food parcel is three meals a day for three days for everyone in a household.
The Trussell Trust's chief executive, Emma Revie has been speaking to Premier about the situation.
"There's a very concerning level of demand still being felt, which is much higher than it was pre-pandemic, which is just not right.
"Alarmingly families with children coming to the foodbank have been increasing by double the rate of that of adults, which is really worrying for us.
"Over the last five years, we've seen a 74 per cent increase in demand. There was a high level of need at Food Banks before the pandemic, exceptionally high levels during the pandemic and still now we're seeing that increase again on the year before the pandemic. So there's a disturbing trend that we're seeing in the number of people in our country that are experiencing that level of poverty where they're unable to afford the essentials.
"We see high levels of mental health amongst people who are coming to foodbanks, which would be entirely understandable when facing those kinds of impossible decisions on a daily basis. It's not right, we wouldn't want it for our loved ones or for ourselves. Yet we're allowing so many people in our country to find themselves in a situation where they're facing those impossible decisions every day.
"This has got to stop, we really have to be urging governments to take action, to strengthen our social security system, to hold people at times when they're unable to work. We know that two thirds of people coming to foodbanks have a disability, or are in a household with somebody with a disability. That's not right, we need to make the changes necessary to ensure that people have enough money to be able to afford the essentials."