Shocking new figures have revealed food banks in the Trussell Trust’s network provided more than 2.1 million parcels to people facing financial hardship across the UK, from 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022. (Trussell Trust). This is the first-time food banks in the network have provided more than 2 million parcels, outside of 2020/21, at the height of the pandemic.
The charity says it’s currently witnessing an accelerating crisis across the UK as the need for emergency food dramatically increased in the past six months. This follows the £20-a-week cut to Universal Credit and the soaring rise in living costs that people are facing.
To help people out of this crisis, local food banks, volunteers and businesses are working together to develop new ways to increase food bank donations. At Golden Square Shopping Centre, where Warrington Foodbank has operated its retail outlet since 2020, one such initiative is Foodbank Friday. Kim Moate, Andron’s Community and Wellbeing Manager at Golden Square Shopping Centre, explains more:
“Harvest Festivals and Christmas time see lots of generosity from the people of Warrington, however, we needed to come up with a solution to keep the Foodbank stocked up for the remaining 10 months of the year. After long discussions with Warrington Foodbank and their volunteers on how we can support, we have come up with what we feel is a solution to their ever-depleting stock situation – Foodbank Friday!”
The aim of Foodbank Friday is to encourage school pupils to bring one item of non-perishable food to donate to the drop-off point within Golden Square Shopping Centre each Friday. The food collected is weighed and each school receives regular correspondence from the Foodbank on what has been donated to share with parents and carers.
The pilot scheme, run in partnership with one of our Warrington’s Primary Schools, collected 327kg of food in the first week alone – equivalent to 253 school lunches for children and 27 three-day emergency food parcels to families in crisis.
Foodbank Friday is already providing a lifeline to many families across Warrington, and with more schools looking to be a part, the initiative is set to make an even bigger impact.
“Foodbank Friday is gaining traction with 8 schools signed up so far. We are expecting many more as they return from Half Term next week.” Added Kim.
More on Warrington Foodbank and Golden Square Shopping Centre
Since October 2020, Warrington Foodbank has been operating within a retail outlet at Golden Square Shopping centre. The drop-off point is run by Warrington Foodbank volunteers where shoppers can drop items off throughout the day and representatives from Citizens Advice Bureau are also on hand to offer guidance on the likes of universal credit and debt issues.
Last year alone, Warrington Foodbank distributed 9248 emergency food parcels within Warrington, 3323 of which went to children living in families facing food hardship. However, the Foodbank is currently facing its biggest challenge to date. Stock supplies are severely depleted as the cost of living has reached a crisis point for many families.
While staff, volunteers and communities continue to do their best to support the foodbank, they need support now more than ever. More information on donations points can be found here: https://www.trusselltrust.org/