Last Friday (24/07) the York Central MP, visited the York Food Bank as they prepare for a sharp increase in the amount of families in need of help this summer. While children all over the city are filled with excitement for the summer holidays, many parents are turning to the foodbank as they struggle to find the cash to pay for extra meals, usually provided by schools.
With 16 families already referred to the bank by local schools for help throughout the holidays Ms Maskell is concerned by the number of families struggling to afford the basic essentials and visited the Gateway Centre distribution point to talk to the people using the service and the staff providing it.
Rachael Maskell MP says:
“I am concerned about the number of people including families with young children who are being forced to use the foodbank on a regular basis and the number is increasing not just in York, but all over the country.
"We are not living in a third world country. People should not have to resort to foodbanks to make sure they have food for themselves and their children. This is Britain, in 2015, everyone has the right to enough food. Food banks provide great temporary help for families in crisis, but the government needs to fix the bigger problem.
“The volunteers work hard at the food bank, providing much needed help for families struggling to manage. It’s great that people from all over York are helping by volunteering and donating food."
Nationally 1,084,604 people received three days emergency food from the Trussell Trust, last year, including 396,997 children.
The York Food Bank, which has four distribution points at various locations around the city, including the Gateway Centre provides emergency packages containing 3 days worth of food, to people who have been referred by frontline care professionals such as teachers and social workers. The York Foodbank has fed 1478 people this year alone, 468 of which are children, and are expecting a significant increase over the coming summer months.
As well as providing emergency food packages, the York Food Bank distributes toilet rolls, feminine hygiene, washing powder, toiletries, nappies, toothpaste and toothbrushes. A full donation list of items can be found on the Trussell Trust website.
Volunteers at the Trussell Trust Food banks also give guidance about longer term help and support, this will no doubt be crucial as families feel the pinch over the long 7 week break from free school meals.
Laura Chalmers, Foodbank Manager says:
“We recognise that many families are only just able to survive financially, and during the summer holidays their lack of free school meals put extra strain on their household. This year we are working closely with our local schools to ensure that nobody is going to skip meals this summer. We also understand that admitting that you are struggling to feed your family can be hard and often embarrassing, therefore we aim to provide a warm, welcoming and non judgemental space for these families to come"