New figures released by Malmesbury & District Foodbank today reveal the devastating impact of the pandemic on people’s incomes and livelihoods.
The foodbank says it has seen unprecedented numbers of people in need of support due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Between April 2020 and March 2021, 1,268 emergency food parcels were provided – 535 of these went to children.
In the previous year, the foodbank handed out 1,173 emergency food parcels – 391 of which were to children.
Around half of the clients, in the North Wiltshire catchment area of the Malmesbury & District Foodbank needed its support after finding themselves on an income so low that they were unable to support themselves.
Alongside this, changes with Universal Credit payments, delays in payments and people not able to access support during the pandemic has only compounded the problem.
Gill Smith, foodbank manager of Malmesbury & District Foodbank said: “It simply isn’t right that more and more people in North Wiltshire are struggling to put food on the table and have been forced to our doors.
“The pandemic has impacted huge numbers of people and we know our figures are just the tip of the iceberg as new community organisations, independent food banks and local authorities, have sprung up during the pandemic to support our community.
“We’re always blown away by the amount of support and generosity local people show in supporting our work – and during this difficult year, our vital work has only been possible because of that incredible support. Thank you so much.
“While our help continues to be needed, we’re dedicated to ensuring that people without enough money for food are able to access emergency support.
“But ultimately, we don’t think it’s right that any of us are forced to turn to any charity for emergency food.
“That’s why we’re calling on our candidates standing in local elections in North Wiltshire to commit to ending the need for our services in our community. Together we can build a Hunger Free Future.”
The foodbank is part of the Trussell Trust’s network, which reports record levels of need in the last year, with more than 2.5 million emergency food parcels given to people struggling to afford essentials between April 2020 and March 2021; more than 980,000 of these parcels went to children.
Malmesbury & District Foodbank is now calling on political candidates of all parties in North Wiltshire standing in the upcoming May elections to commit to ending the need for foodbanks in their community once and for all.
Emma Revie, chief executive of the Trussell Trust, said: “No one should face the indignity of needing emergency food.
“Yet our network of food banks has given out record numbers of food parcels as more and more people struggle without enough money for the essentials.
“This is not right but we know we can build a better future.
“This pandemic has shown the unexpected can hit suddenly, but we know when we push for change, united by our desire for justice and compassion, the government has to listen and act.
“We are asking you, the public, to write to your local election candidates for a commitment to working to end the need for foodbanks.
“Together we can take action now to build a hunger free future.”
The foodbank is currently seeking donations for a number of items.
They are seeking donations of one litre cartons of long-life fruit juice, tins of potatoes and toiletry items, particularly loo roll (packs of four are best), shampoo and toothpaste.
For more information on how to donate, visit : https://malmesburydistrict.foodbank.org.uk/give-help/donate-food