A food bank in Newcastle has reported its busiest month ever since it opened a decade ago. Due to the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, West End Foodbank gave out a record-breaking 2,500 food parcels in March of this year.
The charity, which operates welfare hubs in six different locations across the city, has been overwhelmed for the past few years, but particularly in the last few months. One of the problems is the drop in donations as many people can no longer afford to give to charity.
There are three types of parcels that West End Foodbank provides: one for single people, one for couples, and one for families. As inflation soars across the UK, many people in full-time employment are having to resort to food banks due to the huge rise in household bills. Overall, the charity saw a 39% increase in the need for its services in the year leading up to 1st April 2023.
Its Chief Executive, John McCorry, told The Chronicle: "The deeper the recession has become for people on low income and on benefits, the further they have been pushed into hardship.” Some of the low-paid jobs that are pushing people to food banks include nurses, shop assistants, and youth workers.
Thankfully, the food bank still has a support network that allows it to continue to help people in need. Newcastle United FC donated £150,000 in December, and there are food collections at many of their matches. West End Foodbank is part of The Trussel Trust, which runs the largest network of food banks in the UK.
The current rate of inflation in the UK is just over 10%, however the Office for National Statistics reported that food and drink is the second biggest contributor to inflation, after housing and bills. This means that many grocery products have increased by far more than 10%. Some of the items that have seen the biggest price hikes include vegetable oil and foods that require wheat, such as bread and pasta.