Food banks in plea after stock shortage

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Tesco have helped with the collection © Trussell Trust Twitter

This comes as a report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation shows that more working families are now living in poverty (below the breadline) than those who are living off benefits.

Lynda Battarbee, the North West Development Officer for Trussell Trust, one of the UK’s largest networks of food banks, told JMU Journalism that she believes that static wages and the rising cost of living are a toxic mix which has resulted in this increase in people relying on food banks.

“Lots of people are having to choose between eating and heating due to the increases in food and gas prices,” she said.

“There’s a big myth surrounding food poverty in this country. People expect that those in developed countries seeking food help are just scroungers but the majority of them are just normal people living below the poverty line.”

Liverpool itself has three food banks handing out store-cupboard food items to those who cannot afford to purchase them themselves, with another two food banks in Knowsley and on the Wirral.

However, a desperate plea is being made for donations to these food banks where there is a shortage of items such as milk, sugar, tea bags and toilet rolls as the number of people needing access to food banks has doubled in the Merseyside area in the past six months.

The Church Urban Fund, a Christian group aimed at tackling poverty in the UK, recently released a study of the 10 poorest communities in the country; five of these were in Liverpool.

Joe Anderson © Trinity Mirror

Mayor Anderson said: “These are really tough times for a lot of people in the city who are finding it harder to find the money to pay for food. The triple whammy of the recession, cuts to public services and the forthcoming changes to benefits are hitting people hard.”

The Liverpool food banks, which are run by Trussell Trust, supplied much-needed food to 1,881 people between January and June of this year; a figure more than double that for the previous six months.

There are currently 285 Trussell Trust-run food banks in the UK, with 200 of these having been opened in the past two years.

Luciana Berger, MP for Liverpool Wavertree, has even produced her own short film to highlight the growing rates of food shortage in her area. Premiered at the ‘Food for Real’ festival at FACT last week, the footage shows the reality of relying of food vouchers, whilst highlighting the experiences of those who have used food banks in order to survive, something which the MP believes is “a scandal in our developed and prosperous nation”.

Anyone wishing to make a donation to a food bank can do so by visiting http://www.trusselltrust.org/

About Alice Kirkland, JMU Journalism