Food banks handed out 6,000 more packages last year in West Northamptonshire than before the Covid-19 pandemic, according to new figures.
Figures from anti-poverty charity the Trussell Trust, which supports the country’s largest network of food banks, showed 14,895 emergency food parcels handed out to people in the area during the 12 months to March 2022.
That is a a decrease on the 16,767 distributed in the year to March 2021 but up a whopping 73 percent on the 8,614 provided during the 12 months to March 2020, before the onset of coronavirus.
The Trussell Trust says it is now handing out seven days’ worth of food instead of three to cope with demand for support and keep the number of deliveries in check.
Across the East Midlands, 126,877 parcels were handed out by the region’s 86 distribution centres in the year to March.
The Trussell Trust warned that food bank use has accelerated in the past six months as rising costs of basics has hit people’s pockets.
Charity chief executive, Emma Revie, said: “People are telling us they’re skipping meals so they can feed their children, that they are turning off essential appliances so they can afford internet access for their kids to do homework.
“How can this be right in a society like ours?
"And yet food banks in our network tell us this is only set to get worse as communities are pushed deeper into financial hardship.
“No one’s income should fall so dangerously low that they cannot afford to stay fed, warm and dry.”
In the year to March, more than 5,500 parcels were handed out to children in West Northamptonshire — around 1,500 more than in the year before the pandemic.
Growing numbers of independent food banks and work by other organisations and charities means the Trussell Trust warns its figures do not show the full extent of food poverty.
The Department for Work and Pensions said that it recognises the pressures on the cost of living and is "doing what it can" to help such as spending £22 billion across the next financial year to support people with energy bills and fuel duty.