Over 1,500 more food parcels handed out in Gateshead as cost-of-living crisis ramps up
Over 1,500 more food parcels were handed out between April and September in Gateshead than over the same period in 2021, new figures show.
The Trussell Trust, which operates the UK's largest food bank network, says a "tsunami of need" is gripping the UK, as nationally, demand has outstripped donations for the first time.
The latest figures from the charity show 4,278 parcels were handed out at three foodbanks run by the Trussell Trust in Gateshead in the six months to the end of September – up 70% from 2,522 over the same period in 2021.
The number of parcels handed out nationwide also soared to more than 1.2 million over the same period – a 33% increase on April to September 2021.
Emma Revie, chief executive at the Trussell Trust, said this winter is set to be "the hardest yet" for food banks and those they support.
“We know that with the right support and a stable and sufficient income, people don’t need to turn to food banks for support," she added.
"Over the last few years, the Government has acted to protect people who are struggling, and this action has had made a difference.
"They must now act again: with swift support now to help people through the winter, and with vision for the longer-term to ensure that social security is always enough to weather challenging times," she added.
These figures cover food parcels handed out by the charity itself, but other organisations may also be providing support to those in need in the area.
Nationally, nearly half a million of the parcels handed out between April and September went to children.
This included 1,490 in Gateshead – an 81% rise on 825 the year before.
The soaring cost of fuel, food and heating has caused unprecedented levels of demand for support.
In the last six months, nearly 330,000 people have been referred to a food bank for the first time, the Trussell Trust says.
And a recent survey by the charity found that one in five food bank users were from working households.
It said the Government must "close the gap" between prices and incomes, in part by uprating benefits in line with inflation.
A spokesperson for the Department of Work and Pensions said: “We are directly supporting households in need following the aftershocks from the pandemic and Putin’s illegal war in Ukraine, including sending another Cost-of-Living Payment this month.
“Our extensive immediate support for families also includes our Energy Price Guarantee, saving around £700 for a typical household over winter and our Household Support Fund, combined with longer-term changes such as altering Universal Credit to help people keep £1,000 more of what they earn every year.”