New figures released by Devizes and District Foodbank today reveal that out of the 2,200 emergency food parcels were provided to people in crisis during the last year – 949 of these went to children, but overall 581 of the 2,200 went to families in the Marlborough and Pewsey areas.
Between April 2020 and March 2021, Devizes and District Foodbank have seen many people in need of support as the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic hit people’s incomes and livelihoods.
The charity has warned their new figures do not include the number of people helped by new community organisations, independent food banks or the local authority, which have all been working during the pandemic in different ways to help people in the area.
While the figures are a decrease from the same period in 2019/20, when 2,534 parcels were provided to people, the food bank believes this decrease in referrals is due to an increase in other emergency support from local charities and groups across the community; an increase in local authority support during the pandemic; and the closure of agencies who refer to the food bank.
Liz Starling, Project Manager of Devizes and District Foodbank said: “It simply isn’t right that people in the Marlborough, Pewsey and Devizes area are struggling to put food on the table and have been forced to our doors. The pandemic has impacted huge numbers of people and we know our figures are just the tip of the iceberg as new community organisations, independent food banks and local authorities, have sprung up during the pandemic to support our community.
“We’re always blown away by the amount of support and generosity local people show in supporting our work – and during this difficult year, our vital work has only been possible because of that incredible support. Thank you so much. While our help continues to be needed, we’re dedicated to ensuring that people without enough money for food are able to access emergency support.
“But ultimately, we don’t think it’s right that any of us are forced to turn to any charity for emergency food. That’s why we’re calling on our candidates standing in local elections in Wiltshire to commit to ending the need for our services in our community. Together we can build a Hunger Free Future.”
The food bank is part of the Trussell Trust’s network, which reports record levels of need in the last year, with more than 2.5 million emergency food parcels given to people struggling to afford essentials between April 2020 and March 2021; more than 980,000 of these parcels went to children.
Devizes and District Foodbank is now calling on political candidates of all parties in Wiltshire standing in the upcoming May elections to commit to ending the need for food banks in their community once and for all.
Emma Revie, chief executive of the Trussell Trust, said: “No one should face the indignity of needing emergency food. Yet our network of food banks has given out record numbers of food parcels as more and more people struggle without enough money for the essentials. This is not right but we know we can build a better future. This pandemic has shown the unexpected can hit suddenly, but we know when we push for change, united by our desire for justice and compassion, the government has to listen and act.
“We are asking you, the public, to write to your local election candidates for a commitment to working to end the need for food banks. Together we can take action now to build a hunger free future.”
To donate to the Devizes and District Foodbank either click here to give online, or drop actual items off in the bins in either Tesco (if purchased in the store) or Waitrose in Marlborough. Alternatively donations of food can also be delivered to the Devizes and District Foodbank warehouse at: Devizes Community Hospital, New Park Road, Devizes SN10 1EF (open Tuesday 10am -12pm and Thursday 10am to 2pm).