Urgent action needed to stop families going hungry, Salvation Army warns

published on 1 May 2020

Food bank worker

Lieut-Colonel Drew McCombe, The Salvation Army’s Secretary for Mission, responding to new figures on food poverty out today (Friday, May 1), said:

“Across the country we are seeing an exponential increase in people needing help to get food and these new figures reflect what we are seeing on the ground.

“Before the pandemic hit, our food banks were seeing a steady stream of desperate people coming to us because they could not afford to buy food. For many, their financial situation has been exacerbated further due to the lockdown which, while essential to curb the spread of the virus, has particularly bitten those on zero hours contracts, those working in the gig economy, and self-isolating people who don’t have family close by.

“To respond to this, we’re expanding many of our food banks, and The Salvation Army is using our local networks to reach people who can no longer feed themselves or their families and are cut off from other sources of help.

“Many of those coming to The Salvation Army for food are among the million people who made a first claim for Universal Credit after the lock down began.

“We are urging the Government to replace Universal Credit advance payments with grants. Advance payments are offered to people who need to bridge the gap while they wait for their first payment, but the loans are forcing them straight into debt. With so many people, who may never have claimed benefits before, now claiming Universal Credit and going hungry, we are again calling on the Government to fix this.”

Notes to Editors

  1. Trussell Trust food bank report accessible here.

The Salvation Army has 26 food banks which are run in partnership with the Trussell Trust across the country, as well as many other food banks and food schemes run independently through the Church and charity’s centres.

The Trussell Trust figures out today come as The Salvation Army has launched an urgent appeal to supermarkets, wholesalers, philanthropists and the corporate sector to help their biggest ever food donation drive. The church and charity is still seeking bulk donations of non-perishable food to feed those hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

The public shouldn’t bring donations to our food banks as this will break lockdown rules. So we are appealing to supermarkets, wholesalers, and the corporate sector to help us with this. However, the public can donate to the Coronavirus Impact Fund via The Salvation Army website www.salvationarmy.org.uk or cheques should be addressed to The Salvation Army and sent to The Coronavirus Impact Fund, The Salvation Army, 101 Newington Causeway, London, SE1 6BN.

For media enquiries, please contact the PR & Communications office:

media@salvationarmy.org.uk / 020 3657 7555

The Salvation Army

The Salvation Army is an international Christian church and registered charity which has been transforming lives for more than 150 years. Working in 131 countries worldwide, The Salvation Army offers friendship, practical help and support for people at all levels of need. In the UK and Republic of Ireland this work includes more than 750 community churches and social centres. Registered Charity Nos. 214779, 215174 and in Scotland SC009359, SC037691. For more information visit the website www.salvationarmy.org.uk

Woman at foodbank

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