The growth in the number of foodbanks “should shame” Britain, ITV’s Tonight Series has been told.
Ray Woolford runs the We Care Food Bank in South East London alongside co-founder Barbara Vincent.
He told the programme: “It should shame everyone in this country that the fastest growth in our economy is the food bank industry. And that cannot be right.”
Only a handful of food banks existed in the UK 20 years ago. Now there are more than 2,000.
Anti-poverty campaigners believe that the austerity policies of the last decade in particular have taken their toll. And the issues have only deepened during the Pandemic.
The Trussell Trust runs 1200 food banks. It’s Chief Executive Emma Revie explains:
For us, it's really clear that we can end the need for mass distribution of food aid in our country simply by increasing the amount of income that people in the lowest income families have. We're really dependent on our Social Security system providing enough money in order to cover essentials such as food.
Mum-of-one Rebecca gets a food parcel every week, but it’s not always enough.
“Quite often I find that I have to skip meals. I do these things so that my daughter can have the best of the food.”
Toni, who suffers from health issues, was so hungry back in 2015 that she put an advert on social media.
“At first it was really bad messages, stuff like ‘get off your bum and work’,
But within those messages I did get a few messages like “What has happened. Are you okay right now?”
Now Toni is one of an army of volunteers working in food banks all over the country helping others who are in food poverty.
The Government said it was targeting support for those most in need as well as spending hundreds of billions to safeguard jobs.
According to Helen Bernard, of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, we are reaching a tipping point..
I think that we have some big choices to make as a country this year. And one of those choices is when we look back in five or 10 years time do we really want to be in the same situation as we are now with that soaring use of food banks and people being shut out of being able to afford the essentials.
'On The Breadline: Foodbank Britain?' presented by Julie Etchingham is on ITV this Thursday (11th February) at 7:30pm.
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