Hackney Foodbank close to breaking point as need increases by more than 50%
- Credit: Melanie Rochford
Hackney Foodbank is braced for Christmas as it struggles to cope with a 54 per cent increase in the number of people using its services this year.
The latest figures show thousands more people are now relying on food parcels to get by - many of them children.
December was the busiest month for foodbanks across the country last year, according to the Trussell Trust. It is urging the public to donate as soon as possible to help those dealing with increased financial pressures from costly heating bills, food and other essentials this winter.
"Seeing these statistics, I fear we are close to breaking point. Demand like this would be something to be proud of in a for-profit company, but for society this is a disaster," said Melanie Rochford, director of Hackney Foodbank.
The Trussel Trust is asking the public, in the run-up to the General Election, to get candidates on all sides to pledge to protect people from hunger.
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"We see how austerity has affected the most vulnerable in society and desperately need change, like an end to the five-week wait for Universal Credit and more investment in local support services to stop people falling through the cracks. We'd also like to see more employers reconsider what they're paying their lowest paid staff, so people aren't trapped in a state of in-work poverty," Melanie said.
A recent in-depth report by the Trussel Trust, State of Hunger, revealed that after paying rent most households using foodbanks only have £50 left to live off each week. One in five have no money coming in at all before being referred for emergency food and 94pc of people using food banks are destitute.
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The Trussell Trust's chief executive, Emma Revie, told the Gazette: "Christmas is supposed to be a time of joy and celebration - but for too many people it's becoming harder to keep their heads above water.
"It's not right that anyone should have to use a food bank at any time of year - not just at Christmas. Our next government must start working towards a future where no one needs a foodbank."
The rising need for food banks in Hackney is higher than the national average.
To donate to Hackney Foodbank click here.