IF YOU thought that food banks only helped the people who couldn’t be bothered to help themselves, then maybe our story on Page 5 will make you think again.
The alarming scale of food poverty in Leeds is laid bare which makes startling reading for those who consider this to be an affluent, cosmopolitan and carefree city.
The number of people in the city seeking help from food banks and charities to find their next meal has risen by nearly 25 per cent since the start of 2014.
Data collected by the Leeds Food Aid Network shows that, over 2014, a total of 20,306 people were referred to 12 of Leeds’s main food banks or food parcel providers.
The figure for the 12 months starting from April 2015 was 25,327 – an increase of 24.7 per cent.
Imagine, that’s equivalent to the crowd at Elland Road for a major Leeds United match.
And the number of food parcels given out, informally or following a referral, rose by more than 10 per cent over the same two periods.
It is not just a problem; it’s a scandal. The fact that so many people are so desperate in 21st century Leeds is shocking.
What are the answers? An event on Wednesday, May 11 aims to find out. In the short term, we need to help these people. In the long term, we need to help people to help themselves. Easier said than done.
Voting does make a real difference
THE FUTURES of Leeds and Wakefield are being decided today by people like you.
Councillors will stand or fall depending on how many votes they attract, so don’t believe those who tell you that voting will make no difference.
It does make a difference. And while we all moan about the quality – or lack of it – of some of our representatives, it is up to you to vote for the people who have your best interests at heart.
Leeds and its environs have a lot going for them, but there are some tremendous problems which responsible, hardworking elected members can help to sort.