Antrim Foodbank is facing unprecedented pressure this winter, as the number of people needing to access food banks is expected to surge this winter.
Across the UK, food banks are expecting to provide more than one million emergency food parcels between December 2023 and February 2024 – the most parcels ever provided across this period. This equates to an average of one food parcel every eight seconds (11,500 a day) and 7,000 people seeking support each day.
In Antrim, the food bank is calling on the community to donate food, if they can, to ensure that they can continue to support everyone who needs their help.
Between December and February last year, these food banks supported more than 220,000 children with emergency food, and 225,000 people who needed to use a food bank for the first time but it is anticipated these numbers will be even higher this year.
The soaring cost of living has exposed and exacerbated existing issues, such as our inadequate social security system, and is driving record numbers of people on the lowest incomes to food banks. Although food banks are doing everything they can to help, they’re already working flat-out.
In Antrim, donations of food have dropped over the last six months. Meaning that the gap between what is coming into the food bank and what is being distributed is widening and this cannot continue indefinitely. We need your help to continue supporting the community.
Antrim Foodbank needs your help to make sure that they can be there for people on the lowest incomes this winter. The food bank is buying more food than ever at a time when prices are higher than ever because the sharp increase in people needing help is outstripping food donations.
In December to February last winter, Antrim Foodbank provided 1,590 emergency parcels to people within the local community. Staff and volunteers have also provided countless hours of compassion, guidance, and expert support to people who had nowhere else to turn.
Fionnuala O’Donnell, Manager at Antrim Foodbank, said:
In recent months, the need for emergency food parcels is outstripping the number of donations we are receiving. This coming winter will be our toughest and busiest ever, but we will continue to support the people who need us in Antrim. Everyone at Antrim Foodbank is grateful to the community for their generosity since we were founded, and we know that as we get further into winter, the community will once again rally around us.
Emma Revie, Chief Executive of the Trussell Trust, said:
We don’t want to spend every winter saying things at food banks are getting worse, but they are. Food banks are not the answer in the long term, but while we continue to fight for the change that could mean they can be closed for good; Antrim Foodbank urgently needs your support.
They need donations of food for emergency parcels, and money to fund costs such as the purchasing of food to meet the shortfall in donations they are currently experiencing.
One in seven people in the UK face hunger because they don’t have enough money to live on. That’s not the kind of society we want to live in, and we won’t stand by and let this continue. Every year we are seeing more and more people needing food banks, and that is just not right.
Together, we have roots into hundreds of communities, and while someone facing hunger can’t change the structural issues driving the need for food banks on their own, thousands of us coming together can. We must end hunger across the UK so that no one needs a food bank to survive.
You can find out more about Antrim Foodbank, and details of the items they are most in need of, at antrim.foodbank.org.uk