Food banks across Leeds are facing shortages as they give out more support to people in need.
New figures released by the Leeds Food Aid Network (FAN) show food banks were turned to 27,902 times in the city in 2017-18, a rise of four per cent on the previous year.
The number of meals and sandwich batches handed out by food drop-ins and street outreach services also increased from 64,474 to 81,024.
FAN says the growing demand for resources is presenting “major challenges”.
The city’s two largest foodbanks – Leeds South and East Food Bank and Leeds North and West Food Bank – which were used 18,558 times in 2017-18, are feeling the strain the most, with the former down to only a week or two of supplies.
Dave Paterson, of FAN, said: “The two largest food banks have seen a substantial increase. They are shouldering more. In spring and summer, you also get fewer people donating food. That is why it is such a challenge.”
FAN puts the rise in food bank access down to an increase in food prices, benefit delays and sanctions and an increase in the number of people with “insecure work”, among other factors. Network members fear the roll out of Universal Credit could lead to even more people turning to food banks to get by, should there be delays with payments or should cash be reduced if people have debts or arrears.
A summer food drive is being launched today to help with the shortfall at the two largest food banks, and to support FareShare Yorkshire, which gives to community groups feeding vulnerable people across the county.
The YEP is backing the collection, as part of our Feed a Family campaign. We are calling on readers to donate to ensure no families go hungry.
Non-perishable food including tinned meafish, long life milk, coffee, sauces, pasta, rice, cereal and tinned vegetables are among items needed.