In cities, towns, and villages across the UK, from Stornoway to Sussex, Blackpool to Banbury and everywhere in between, people are being pushed to crisis point by the increasing cost of living.
The toughest of choices are having to be made. Parents not eating so that they have enough food for their children, pensioners not turning the heating on because they can’t afford to stay warm, and people with disabilities stuck in their homes because they can’t afford accessible transport.
The Trussell Trust is a charity with a network of more than 1,300 food bank centres across the UK. You may not have noticed them in your community but with 40,000 volunteers working tirelessly round the clock to make sure people facing hunger can access the food and support they need. They are the safety net that is catching people struggling to get by.
This winter is going to be the toughest yet for food banks though as they are faced with a tsunami of need and soaring operational costs, and they cannot respond to this crisis alone - they urgently need your support.
The charity’s long term goal is a future without emergency food, where everyone has the income and support they need to get by, but right now they are focused on ensuring that everyone has access to food.
Every penny raised by the Trussell Trusts emergency appeal will go towards helping food banks keep going this winter, by funding:
- Grants to food banks to respond to the crisis this winter by helping to cover their increased running costs for food, facilities and frontline staff, as well as winter-specific support for people facing hardship like hot water bottles, blankets and food packs that don’t need cooking.
- Direct advice on finances to help tens of thousands of tens of thousands of tens of thousands of tens of thousands of people maximise their income via the charity’s Help through Hardship helpline, that’s run in partnership with Citizens Advice, and through one-to-one support sessions at food banks to help people through this crisis and beyond.
- Additional support to food banks to help navigate the crisis including access to regional and national expertise to ensure they can continue to serve their community through this ever-changing external environment.
Emma Revie, chief executive of The Trussell Trust, said: “People are struggling to afford the essentials and we are expecting that this winter will be the hardest yet for food banks and the people they support.”
Almost 1.3 million emergency food parcels were provided to people between April and September this year by food banks in the charity’s UK network and almost half a million of these went to children. In the same six months, 320,000 people were forced to turn to a food bank in the Trussell Trust network for the first time, that’s a 40 per cent increase compared to the same period last year and the equivalent of everyone in Nottingham having to access a food bank.
Revie added: “The public has continued to be generous with its donations, but the need for food is far outstripping what we need now. Food banks are having to buy twice as much food as they did last year and that, combined with rising operational costs, is making it hard for them to keep going..”
We know that the generosity of our audience knows no bounds, and that we as a community of readers and journalists can make a true difference this winter.
With one in five people visiting a food bank coming from a working household, hunger is an issue that can touch all of us. There is no doubt we are all feeling the pinch, but we are hoping that during the coming weeks you can spare whatever you can to The Trussell Trust winter appeal.
Across our family of newspapers, we aim to raise as much money as we can to support this vital charity this winter. The money raised will go directly to food banks to ensure that anyone who needs a helping hand this winter gets it.
Your money will be the difference between a family in your community eating, or a family in your community going hungry. That is how important this appeal is.