Sevenfold rise in people needing food parcels in parts of Suffolk
- Credit: ©Gabriel Bahnareanu
New data has revealed the number of Suffolk families relying on emergency food parcels shot up by over 700% in some areas this past year, as consecutive lockdowns took their toll.
The Trussell Trust, which supports a network of foodbanks across the UK, has recorded a total of 245,000 emergency parcels being distributed across the East of England in the past year.
Figures from April 2019 to March 2020, compared with April 2020 and March 2021, show a 719% increase in Mid Suffolk as parcel handouts shot up from 230 to 1,884 in the space of 12 months.
In East Suffolk the demand rose by 36%, from 10,173 to 13,793, while in West Suffolk the demand actually fell by 22%, from 1,940 to 1,504.
Maureen Reynel, founder of Families in Need (FIND), says the strain on foodbanks has continued throughout the pandemic and expects it to get even worse in future.
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"I have distributed over 8,000 food parcels in Ipswich since last year," she said. "It is just crazy and it's still the same as it was last year.
"There are many complex reasons people need help; they have fallen behind, lost their job, had no work to get back to after lockdown but still need to pay their mortgage.
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"I can see it getting worse and it will be a long time before it gets better.
"We've had some amazing donors who have kept us going with fuel payments and school clothing, but some people are at the point where if something breaks they can't fix it."
Emma Revie, chief executive of the Trussell Trust, is calling on on all levels of government to act, commit to working to end the need for food banks and developing a plan to do so if elected.
She said: “No one should face the indignity of needing emergency food — yet our network of food banks across the East of England have continued to provide huge numbers of emergency 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.
"Together we can take action now to build a hunger free future.”