Many of the people we support are on benefits, having left prison and in the process of trying to rebuild their lives. Often they have restrictions on where they can live, and what kind of work they will be considered for. The wait of over five weeks for the first Universal Credit payment is a cause of major hardship and the ‘advance payments’ on offer to address this then have to be deducted over the following year, leaving people struggling even once payments come through.
It is an added pressure if they are parents looking after children, and in this scenario, the thought of the summer holidays can be an enormous stress. Schools not only provide education in term time, they can be the providers of the only meal of the day for children in poverty. Missing out on the free meals provided - leaving parents to provide the extra meal – can push people towards foodbanks to feed their kids.
This month, The Big Issue reported that the Trussell Trust foodbanks gave out 20 per cent more emergency food parcels in the summer holidays last year. The national foodbank charity distributed 87,496 parcels to children while they were off for their school holiday in 2018, dwarfing the number given out in 2017.
The charity has also warned that foodbanks should not be a long-term solution to hunger and is campaigning to end the five-week wait for Universal Credit payments that currently creates the situation where many people are left unable to buy either food or other essentials.
The Trussell Trust’s chief executive Emma Revie said: “No charity can replace the dignity of having enough money for the basics.” In the meantime the charity continues to provide lifesaving supplies to families all over the country. To find your nearest foodbank, see the postcode finder below: