Lib Dem parliamentary candidate Max Wilkinson visited an “inspirational” Cheltenham food bank, as new figures reveal the demand for food banks has never been higher.
Max visited Elim Church food bank, run by charity the Trussell Trust, to meet with project manager Peter Verry and learn about the vital work carried out by the project in Cheltenham.
Elim Church provides food to Cheltenham residents in crisis, as well as working in partnership with other local charities and community organisations.
Max's visit yesterday follows the release of new data by the Trussell Trust showing that April to September 2019 was the busiest six-month period for food banks since the charity was founded in 1997.
During this period, 823,145 emergency food parcels were given to people nationwide. More than a third of these, 301,653, went to children.
Despite being one of the world’s richest countries, one in five of the UK population still live below the poverty line.
The main reasons for people needing emergency food are low benefit income (36%), and delays (18%) or changes (16%) to benefits being paid.
This has meant more and more people are relying on charitable safety nets, such as Cheltenham's food bank.
Following the visit, Max said: “The rising demand for food banks is a national scandal. Financial vulnerability is the leading cause of food insecurity, which has been exacerbated by the Conservative’s brutal cuts to Universal Credit since 2015 and their mindless two-child limit.
“I have been inspired by this visit and look forward to offering more support as the town’s MP. With Liberal Democrat colleagues, I want to bring in a new legal right to food, tackle poverty and build a brighter future by creating the circumstances in which food banks are no longer required.”
Elim Church food bank relies upon the help of volunteers and the generosity of donors. Items they are seeking for the Christmas period include Christmas cake, Christmas pudding, boxes of biscuits, chocolates, sweets and mince pies.