Food banks in the UK warn they are set to be busier than ever this winter with the possibility an emergency food parcel could be handed out every nine seconds to people across the country.
The Trussell Trust, which supports more than 1,200 food banks across the UK, said its network experienced a 47 percent increase in usage during the six months from April.
Goodgym is a group of runners that combines regular exercise with helping the local community in west London. It’s food bank is staffed by volunteers and relies on donations from the public. Members of the group say there has been a 61 percent increase in the distribution of food parcels compared to the months before the Coronavirus hit.
“We’re filling bags of food for individuals and couples and smaller families, so giving them everything they might need in terms of basics – tea, coffee, sugar, food in tins, pasta, rice in the run-up to the Christmas period,” says volunteer Michelle Grimley. “We’re just making sure people have got the right amount of food for weekly meals.”
Elsewhere, people are finding new ways of feeling festive after a dark year and communities are working together to light up their streets.
“There’s a WhatsApp group on the street, and as other people have put lights up, everyone’s been saying how great they look,” says London resident Jon Restall. “Everyone’s always been friendly, but it now feels as if people are really looking out for each other, and trying to do good things.
The signs point towards a bleak winter this year – but with 2021 and new vaccinations on the way – hopes are high for a brighter New Year.
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