1. ITV Report

Foodbank charity gears up for its 'busiest Christmas ever'

The organisation said last December was its busiest month on record. Credit: PA

Leading foodbank charity The Trussell Trust is appealing for public support ahead of what it expects to be its busiest Christmas yet.

The organisation said last December was its busiest month on record, with some 150,000 three-day emergency food supplies given to people in crisis, including 61,000 to children.

Many foodbanks will also be giving out presents, running holiday clubs and organising community meals to ensure families have a good meal and some company over the holiday.

"For many, this Christmas will not be a time for celebration. Every year we see a spike in demand at Christmas but this year foodbanks are expecting their busiest Christmas ever, “ said Mark Ward, interim chief executive.

"At Christmas foodbanks will be working hard to provide not only those regular essentials, like pasta and cereal, but also little extras that offer hope at a time when people need it most.

"The stories are as inspiring as they are heart-breaking - one mum told us that she was relieved as her daughter's first Christmas was taken care of with help from the foodbank.

"Last December, the public's generosity meant foodbanks could help thousands of people across the country, but when the festive season is over there will still be people in our communities unable to afford food.

"Foodbanks rely on donations, which is why we're asking the public to show that same generosity again, not only this December but in the months that follow Christmas too."

Debbie Abrahams, Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, commented: "Despite what the Government might think, it is absolutely unacceptable that so many families rely on foodbanks to get through Christmas.

"We know that the Tories' botched Universal Credit roll out, and their freeze to social security are causing people to visit foodbanks to make ends meet.

"The social security system should not increase the need for foodbanks.

"Labour is calling on the Government to pause and fix Universal Credit before Christmas, and lift the harmful social security freeze."

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman said: "Reasons for food bank use are complex so it would be wrong to link a rise to any one cause.

"We continue to spend around £90 billion a year supporting people who need it, including those who are out of work or on a low income.

"Work is the best means of providing people with financial security, and with our welfare reforms people are moving into employment faster and staying there longer than under the old system."