More people than ever across our region are turning to foodbanks for help.
The Trussell Trust charity says over 10,000 people in Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire have received at least three days' emergency food handouts during the last 12 months - that's triple the amount than in the previous year.
Rising cost of living, static incomes, changes to benefits and unemployment have meant increasing numbers of people in the area have hit a crisis that forces them to go hungry. This dramatic rise in food bank usage predates April's welfare reforms, which could see numbers increase further in 2013-14, the Trust say.
Of those helped in the area in 2012-13, 32.5 per cent were children. The Bradford food bank alone fed 2,412, giving out 17.4 tonnes of food. Nationally, Trussell Trust foodbanks have given three days emergency food to 346,992 in 2012-13 compared with 128,697 in 2011-12.
The Trussell Trust has seen a 55 per cent increase in the number of foodbanks launched in Yorkshire and Humberside since April 2012 but says this does not meet demand.
– Chris Mould, Trussell Trust Executive Chairman
"The sheer volume of people who are turning to food banks because they can't afford food is a wake-up call to the nation that we cannot ignore the hunger on our doorstep. Politicians across the political spectrum urgently need to recognise the real extent of UK food poverty and create fresh policies that better address its underlying causes.
"This is more important than ever as the impact of the biggest reforms to the welfare state since it began start to take effect. Since April 1 we have already seen increasing numbers of people in crisis being sent to food banks with nowhere else to go.'
"Last year The Trussell Trust estimated our food banks would help 250,000 people in 2012-13, but we've helped 100,000 more than that. 2012-13 was much tougher for people than many anticipated. Incomes are being squeezed to breaking point. We're seeing people from all kinds of backgrounds turning to food banks: working people coming in on their lunch-breaks, mums who are going hungry to feed their children, people whose benefits have been delayed and people who are struggling to find enough work. It's shocking that people are going hungry in 21st century Britain.'