Morecambe Bay Foodbank today releases a report showing that over the first eight months of 2020, they provided emergency food over 20,000 times to people in the District.
When the pandemic hit, the Foodbank went into partnership with Lancaster City Council and moved into Salt Ayre Leisure Centre. They increased the size of their food parcels to ensure that people affected by lockdown had enough food to last for five days rather than the usual three. Fresh food was also added to parcels.
The increase in numbers of people using the Foodbank on last year’s figures from January to August is 338.5%.
The detailed statistical report has been compiled by Dan Clarkson, a PhD student in the Mathematics and Statistics department at Lancaster University, who is also a regular Foodbank volunteer. Dan used the data that the Foodbank enters into the Trussell Trust system to record who has used the Foodbank and the demographic details about their household. All data has been carefully anonymised so that no one is identified.
The report shows that lockdown caused food scarcity for many people, including higher numbers of older people who had not previously used the Foodbank. The Foodbank believes that this may have been caused by an inability for some people to get to shops due to self isolation. As lockdown eased, numbers have come down steadily but are still running very high compared to 2019.
The numbers of children using the Foodbank has increased 328% compared with last year, showing that although there has been a rise in use by older people, there has been an increase in all demographics and that many families who have never used a Foodbank before have had to seek help for the first time.
“We don’t believe that anyone in our community should go hungry, and we are so pleased to have been able to partner with the City Council during this crisis to meet the demand that we have seen for emergency food in our community.” said Annette Smith, Foodbank manager.
“We are anticipating very high levels of demand as we move into Winter, especially as many people will have higher utility bill costs due to being at home more. We’d like to thank staff, trustees and volunteers for all their hard work to feed people this year. Particular thanks go to Dan Clarkson for his helpful work in analysing our data, and to the City Council for their amazing support.”
The Foodbank is seeking donations in the run up to Christmas, and is appealing for the public to donate via their supermarket points, and if they are an online shopper, to consider making a regular donation to the Foodbank by monthly standing order. Items that are particularly needed are tinned meat, tinned fruit and vegetables, pasta sauces, tea and coffee, tinned fruit, steamed puddings and custard, size 6 nappies and treats such as biscuits and chocolate, for adding to Christmas parcels.
“We are expecting a busy Christmas this year, and if restrictions continue we are likely to see an increase in demand” says Joanna Young, Chair of Trustees. “If you are able to, please donate so that we can as many people as possible this Winter. Equally, if you are in need of help and you’ve never used the Foodbank before, don’t worry. We are here to help anyone who is struggling and we don’t want anyone going hungry.”
The Foodbank is currently operating from The Platform on Central Drive in Morecambe, with support from the City Council who have provided the buildings, vans, significant levels of staffing and funding for any foods that have run particularly low. £600,000 has been allocated by the Council since the start of the year to support the Foodbank, part of the Council’s Community Support Hub which was singled out by The Carnegie UK Trust in a recent report on good practice within UK local authority responses to the coronavirus pandemic.
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