Demand for food banks and shopping parcels soars during lockdown

With many people unable to work during lockdown, the economic impact of the coronavirus crisis has seen a huge increase in the number of families needing supplies from food banks.

In Northampton, Teresa McCarthy-Dixon has transformed her pub into a food bank and they have now delivered more than 2,000 food bags in the past five weeks.

More than 200 families a week rely on this pub turned food bank and the demand is rising.

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"I can say it's shocking, it's actually heartbreaking on a daily basis the people that we meet that actually haven't eaten in days. They can't because if they eat then their children won't eat. "It's very real and it's very sad to say this is actually happening on our doorstep in Northampton, it is very real."

Teresa McCarthy-Dixon, Owner, The Swan and Helmet Pub
The Swan and Helmet Pub in Northampton has been turned into a temporary food bank during the coronavirus crisis. Credit: ITV News Anglia

In Cambridge, the City Foodbank would usually deliver 650 food packages in a month. In April, it was nearer 1,000.

The foodbank's director Jon Edney says they are seeing a whole new group of people that they didn't used to meet before.

"It's like they've had the carpet pulled out from under their feet and some of them have landed with quite a hard bump. "It's people who've lost work, people on zero hours contracts who are not getting any work, people who are furloughed and we're just getting a whole raft of people who find they are running out of money."

Jon Edney, Director & Coordinator, Cambridge City Foodbank
The Cambridge food bank has seen demand for its service almost double. Credit: ITV News Anglia

In Clacton in Essex, charity FoodCycle used to cook up weekly hot meals for people who are homeless or struggle to afford food.

Now, unable to do that, it's delivering food parcels to its guests.

Reliant on donations from people and supermarkets, FoodCycle can only hand out what it receives.

On one day it had to cap its deliveries at 60 but the demand is double that.

The charity FoodCycle in Clacton, Essex does not have enough food parcels to meet demand. Credit: ITV News Anglia

"When this comes to an end, when lockdown changes and we are able to open up our services again, there's going to be a lot of families financially affected by this." "We will certainly be expecting an influx of people using our services."

Fiorella Abbarchi, FoodCycle Project Leader, Clacton

For now, these teams are helping people survive during a pandemic but once it's passed the crisis for many may well continue.