Record number of food parcels handed out in Dacorum this summer
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More food bank parcels were handed out in Dacorum this summer than any other since at least 2018, new figures show.
The Trussell Trust, which helps run more than 1,500 food banks across the UK, has described the soaring need for essentials as ‘extremely alarming’.
Figures from the charity show 4,791 emergency food parcels were handed out between April and September across seven food banks in Dacorum.
This is almost a rise of 500 parcels during the same period a year before – and the highest figure since local figures were first made available in 2018.
Across the UK, a record of nearly 1.5 million parcels were distributed – 200,000 more than in the summer of 2022.
These figures cover parcels handed out by the charity itself, but do not include emergency food supplies provided by other organisations.
Trust chief executive Emma Revie said: "An increasing number of children are growing up in families facing hunger, forced to turn to food banks to survive.
"A generation is growing up believing that it’s normal to see a food bank in every community. This is not right.”
The trust's figures show 1,922 of this summer's food parcels in Dacorum were for children.
Ms Revie continued: "Rising hunger and hardship have devastating consequences for individuals and our communities, damage the nation’s health and hold back our economy.
"People in work, as well as people who cannot work, are increasingly being pushed into debt and forced to turn to a food bank to survive."
Across the UK, the North East of England and Wales had the highest levels of food bank usage, with one parcel handed out for every 35 residents in both areas.
The East of England, meanwhile, had a parcel given out for every 39 people in the region.
In response, the organisation has called for an ‘essentials guarantee’ – meaning Universal Credit should protect people from going without the basics – and for benefits to rise in line with inflation in this year's Autumn Statement.
A spokesperson for the Department for Work and Pensions said: "There are 1.7 million fewer people in absolute poverty than in 2010, but we know some families are struggling, which is why we are providing a record support package worth £3,300 per household.
"This includes the latest cost of living payments paid directly to over eight million households this year, our decision to raise benefits by over 10 per cent earlier this year and our £2 billion Household Support Fund which is helping people to buy essentials."
They added the Government is aiming to get more people into work through investment and increasing the national living wage.
For those who might benefit from emergency food parcels, can visit the Trussel Trust Dacorum website for information. Food parcels can be obtained via a referral system. Food bank vouchers are handed out by a professional such as a doctor, social worker or Citizens Advice and can be taken to your local Trussel Trust food bank. Those with a voucher will receive a three day supply of food.