Cost of living makes Salvation Army food banks almost buckle
published on 6 Jul 2022
Cost of living causes Salvation Army food banks to almost buckle
The food banks we run across the UK report they are struggling to cope with demand.
As more people struggle to meet their basic needs, some of our Salvation Army churches are running urgent local appeals for family basics like baby formula. Some have resorted on occasion to growing their own vegetables in a bid to keep their shelves stocked.
Territorial Envoy Alison Sykes, church leader of our corps in Goldthorpe, South Yorkshire, said: “We have people coming to us crying because they can’t afford to eat and are having to ask for help.
“We are getting more requests for support due to the cost of living crisis and are struggling to cope with the demand as people are coming from a wider area. Schools, health visitors and doctors often refer people to Salvation Army support.
“We are running short of basic store cupboard items like long life milk, one pot meals and pasta because demand is high.”
We have over 600 corps (community churches) that see first-hand the impact of rising prices. Not all of them run food banks but corps officers across the UK are finding innovative ways of helping people cope including:
- emergency food parcels
- social supermarkets run by volunteers with food at very low prices
- school uniform and baby supply drives
- drop in lunch clubs over summer.
Pam Hetherington, 51, from Penrith is a working single parent who lives with her 13-year-old daughter and has found herself in need of support from The Salvation Army’s food bank at the Penrith church. Pam said: “I have seen my energy bills increase recently meaning the money I have each month just won’t stretch to cover all I need as everything continues to go up. I now spend the majority of my money on gas and electric meaning I then have none left to put towards food.
“It is a real worry for the future, and I’ve found myself turning to The Salvation Army for support. They’ve helped me out recently with food parcels when my payments simply didn’t cover all of my bills. I’d have been quite lost without them in all honesty, it’s just the lifeline I needed.”
Major Howard Russell, Divisional Commander for the East of England said: “We recognise the swift action the Government has taken on the cost of living, however we also need a longer term solution.
“We are seeing unprecedented demand at our food banks, not only in the East of England but all over the country. People are struggling to feed their families right now but food provision should only ever be an emergency response. What’s also desperately needed is a longer-term solution to help the most vulnerable out of poverty.”
We're calling on the Government to provide both immediate help for people struggling with the cost of living and long-term help to lift deprived communities out of poverty. This includes:
- All benefits intended to help people on low incomes to keep up with inflation.
- A new cross-Government task force to tackle, with empathy and compassion, the reasons people are not earning and are trapped in poverty.
If you want to donate to a Salvation Army foodbank, please check which local churches run them using this map. www.salvationarmy.org.uk/find-a-church
To make a general donation towards our work supporting people through the cost of living crisis please go to www.salvationarmy.org.uk/donate