1,461 emergency food parcels given to local people in last year, Epping Forest Foodbank reveals

Epping Forest Foodbank provided 1,461 three day emergency food parcels to local people between April 2018 to March 2019. Of this number, 735 went to children.

The local food bank’s figures feed into a larger national picture with a record increase in food bank use across the UK reported today by the Trussell Trust.

Epping Forest Foodbank is backing calls from the Trussell Trust to ensure the benefits system is able to protect people from poverty.

The figures from Epping Forest Foodbank are a 22% increase on the same period last year. The charity believes the local increase is due to people struggling with continued issues with Universal Credit such as the five-week wait; benefit payments and a reduction in available local government and charity organisation support.

Epping Forest Foodbank shares the concerns of other food banks in the Trussell Trust’s network about Universal Credit – it is not the only benefit payment people referred to the food bank have experienced problems with, but the issues faced by local people moving onto the new system are significant. The food bank has needed to give emergency food and support to people who are waiting at least five-weeks for a first Universal Credit payment and who are not able to access support or receiving payments that don’t cover the cost of essentials.

Heather Scholer, food bank manager of Epping Forest Foodbank said:

“No one, and certainly no child within Epping Forest should need a food bank’s help and we want to see an end to local people needing emergency food at all. It doesn’t have to be this way - our benefits system is supposed to protect us all from being swept into poverty. Universal Credit should be part of the solution but currently the five week wait is leaving many without enough money to cover the basics. This isn’t right.

“Until we reach a future where food banks are no longer needed, we’ll continue to provide vital support when it matters most. We’re dedicated to ensuring that people in our community without enough money for food are able to access emergency support. Our vital work in the community has only been possible in the last year because of the incredible generosity shown by local people in donating food, time and funds. Thank you.”

The running costs for the food bank are raised locally to enable them to continue their work. Costs include warehouse space to sort donated supplies (approx £1,500/month) - the largest monthly outlay, and other overheads like the District Council's charity relief rates (almost £700/annum), utilities and insurances. The food bank welcomes any new offers of help with funding or in-kind giving – local businesses, organisations and individuals interested in supporting the food bank’s work can find out more at https://eppingforest.foodbank.org.uk/give-help

Epping Forest Foodbank has been providing three days emergency food and support to local people since 2013.

● 15 tonnes of food were donated by the local community between April 2018 – March 2019
● For more info, visit eppingforest.foodbank.org.uk
● Epping Forest Foodbank- is part of the Trussell Trust network. For UK-wide Trussell Trust food bank statistics visit https://www.trusselltrust.org/news-and-blog/latest-stats/ .

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