Usage of food banks surged more than 50% in Caerphilly last Christmas, figures from the UK’s biggest food bank network show.
The Trussell Trust is bracing for its busiest ever Christmas, with figures suggesting a record number of people in need will seek support this December.
In Caerphilly County Borough, the charity handed out 834 three-day emergency food parcels last December, equivalent to 188 every week – including 373 (45%) to children.
It meant the charity recorded a 55% increase in demand in the area, compared to the monthly average for 2018/19.
Meanwhile, separate figures published by the charity show 41% more food parcels were provided between April and September than the same six months just a year before – meaning demand is likely to be even higher this winter.
Trussell Trust chief executive Emma Revie warned that communities across the country are being pushed into poverty.
She said: “Christmas is supposed to be a time of joy and celebration – but for too many people it’s becoming harder and harder to keep their heads above water.
“Nine in ten of us believe hunger in the UK is a problem – food banks cannot and should not have to continue to pick up the pieces.”
The number of food parcels handed out across the charity’s UK sites last December was 44% higher than the monthly average for the year.
More than 186,000 parcels were given away during the month, of which two in five went to children.
Since the figures do not include hundreds of other independent food banks dotted around the country, like the one at the Van Community Centre, many more parcels are likely to have been distributed over the period.