Peter MacLellan, who is the project co-ordinator at the Durham food bank, has been talking to ITV News about the growing demand for emergency food in the North East.
The North East has had its biggest ever increase in people depending on food banks. The number of people using them has gone from less than 1,000 to more than 10,000 in just a year.
The amount of distribution sites has gone up by almost half, as The Trussell Trust's statistics show the need for emergency food is rocketing.
The Prime Minister David Cameron has faced questions over the rise in demand for emergency food and food banks.
The question came as part of today's Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons.
Asked whether David Cameron was concerned about the massive increase in people using foodbanks under his Government, the Prime Minister's official spokesman said:
– David Cameron
Recognising that these are tough economic times is why the Government has been taking the action it is in a number of areas to help families, including through measures around fuel duty and council tax.
Oxfam's Director of UK Poverty, Chris Johnes, has warned that welfare reforms could tip even more people into food poverty:
– Chris Johnes, Oxfam
"These shocking figures show that a perfect storm of spiralling living costs, lack of decent, secure jobs and benefit changes are making it impossible for many people to feed themselves or their families.
"It's clear there is a massive hole in the safety net when so many more people are being forced to rely on emergency food handouts.
"We are worried this could be just the tip of the iceberg as changes to the welfare system already in the pipeline could rip apart the safety net with devastating consequences for those who rely on it."
Chris Mould, the Trussell Trust 's Executive Chairman, said:
"We cannot ignore the hunger on our doorstep. Politicians across the political spectrum 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."
The government has said that it already provides a "safety net" to benefit claimants who need help with food, adding that some of the increase seen by the Trussell Trust could be due to Job Centres referring people to their service:
"The government already provides a safety net for essentials like food and housing through the benefits system and claimants can also request a benefit advance or help from their local authority where needed.
"We welcome the contribution voluntary organisations including the Trussell Trust play in supporting local communities, beyond the help provided by Government. That is why Jobcentre Plus - for the first time - is now referring people to their services.
– Spokesperson, Department for Work and Pension
"Our welfare reforms will improve the lives of some of the poorest families in our communities, with the Universal Credit simplifying the complex myriad of benefits and making three million people better off.
"And by next year, we will have taken two million of the lowest earners out of paying tax altogether."
People in need of emergency food supplies in the North East is ten times higher than it was in 2011.
This year's figures are shocking compared to 2011 when only 700 people needed support.
- 10,510 people in the North East received food in 2012-13
- 3,452 were children
- 741 people in the North East received food 2011-12
Food-boxes contain a three day supply of non-perishable foods like tinned fruit as well as pasta and cereals. Dieticians ensure food-boxes are nutritionally balanced before they are given out. The number of food banks in our region has almost doubled since last year.
The North East has had its biggest ever increase in people depending on food banks. The number of people using them has risen ten fold. 10,000 people in the North East received a minimum of three days of emergency food last year. More than 3,000 were children.