Shocking figures reveal pressure on foodbank
Two-year-old Timmy Joe shows his delight as his mum picks up food for the next three to four days.
On Wednesday, mum-of-four, Sammy Watkinson, from Burston, was one of a growing number of people to visit Hope Church on Vinces Road, the main distribution centre for Waveney Foodbank, in Diss.
With referrals soaring by 95% in 2017, and even higher levels during 2018, the foodbank has put out an urgent appeal for donations.
It’s food supply is currently running short by one tonne a month.
“The numbers are shocking,” said operations manager, Matthew Scade.
“Around 70 per cent of those referred to us are families, and those with children of primary school age, make up the largest number. Families who rely on free school meals during term time often find themselves facing hunger in the school holidays.
“We really can’t explain the increase other than for many families on a middle to low income, one crisis can leave them with a simple choice of having to pay a bill for instance, or eat. Rural poverty is a very real problem.”
Waveney Foodbank covers an area of 1,500 sq kilometres with distribution centres in Diss, Long Stratton, Harleston, Bungay, Beccles and Halesworth.
“Often people who come to a foodbank are upset because they feel in some way they have failed. Noone has failed by putting food on the table,” added Mr Scade.
“What has failed is a system that leads to poverty, in the first place.”
Waveney Foodbank is one of a network of more than 420 run by the Trussel Trust. In May and June 2016, the foodbank, which is based in Eye, helped 96 adults and 63 children across its six branches. In July and August the figure was 92 adults and 81 children.
In May and June 2017, the figure rose to 120 adults and 100 children. In July and August it was 321 adults and 241 children. In July this year, alone, the figure was 392 adults and 342 children.
The trust as a whole has seen similar increases.
People are referred to foodbanks from organisations including the CAB and councils. Waveney Foodbank has requested anyone wanting to donate food visit www.waveney.foodbank.org.uk to see which kinds of food are needed most.