A CHARITY that provides food to the most needy in East Yorkshire has seen a massive increase in demand.
FareShare Hull and Humber, which is run by the Goodwin Trust in the region, says there has been a 53 per cent increase in charities and groups seeking food to help struggling families.
The organisation has provided charities with food for more than 363,000 meals in the past year and is now supporting 89 charities to help meet demand.
A total of 4,270 people received food every day last year from the charity – up from 2,780 in 2012.
Those affected by homelessness are still the highest beneficiaries, but the number of children and families receiving help through breakfast clubs, youth centres and community cafés has doubled in the past year, now accounting for a quarter of all people receiving help.
JJ Tatten, of the Goodwin Development Trust, said: “These official figures confirm what we’ve known for some time – that the issue of food poverty is a rapidly worsening situation in our region due to the emergence of the plight of the working poor.
“This, coupled with the perfect social storm of unemployment and benefits cuts, has resulted in soaring dependency on FareShare food.”
FareShare Hull and Humber is part of the national charity FareShare, which supports 1,296 charities and community projects across the UK and has provided them with enough food for one million meals a month in the past year.
Janine White helps run the Preston Road Families Association and says she relies heavily on help from FareShare.
She said: “The charity gives us so many trays of food and often extras when it can.
“We then hand out food parcels to those who need them in the area.
“We have seen a large increase in those receiving Jobseeker’s Allowance being sanctioned, meaning their benefits are stopped for whatever reason, leaving them with nothing to live on for weeks at a time.
“There is no question we are seeing a huge increase in demand. I would say demand has tripled in the past six months.
“We are helping about ten people a week on average and provide them with breakfast and at least one more meal a day.
“We are all volunteers and don’t get paid, so we rely on the likes of FareShare.”
The majority of food supplied by FareShare is surplus, meaning it would have otherwise gone to waste.
This food is all in-date but has become surplus as a result of labelling errors, damaged packaging or not meeting specifications.
FareShare Hull and Humber received 237 tonnes of food in the past year, 85 per cent of which was surplus.
Lindsay Boswell, CEO of FareShare, said: “The trends are alarming. We’re supporting more people and more charities than ever and while we hear the economy is recovering, we know it will always be hardest for the most vulnerable in society to regularly access food.”
East Hull MP Karl Turner said: “We are seeing a growing cost of living crisis that is pushing families into severe hardship.
“Rising food poverty is a national scandal and six in ten people say they are worried about how they will be able to manage their future spending on groceries.
“Despite claims of a recovering economy, a 53 per cent increase in the use of FareShare in Hull shows that the recovery may be helping some but not the majority.
“I hope the Chancellor will use this week’s budget to address issues such as the unfair bedroom tax, which is forcing more families to turn to food banks.”
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