Cost of living crisis: Teachers turn to food banks as cost of living soars | Personal finance | Finance

The father of a church and food bank in Bristol told the Daily Express that in 45 years of working alongside impoverished communities he had never seen so much hopelessness. Food banks have seen a dramatic increase in demand for their services, as people who used to donate – including the middle classes – now turn to them for help, while its food bank supplies have dropped drastically compared to the same period last year.

“The Chancellor must urgently continue to address this devastating crisis through cash-first interventions.

“Social security payments as well as wages must match the rising cost of living to reverse the rapidly escalating poverty in communities across the UK.”

When the pandemic first hit, food banks like the one at St Nicholas of RC Church in Bristol stepped up to help struggling families survive.

Communities huddled together, with people collecting donations from neighbors and bringing them to the church to distribute to those who needed them most.

Now, however, food banks are facing their worst nightmare – they can’t help everyone because they just don’t have enough food.

Father Richard McKay works with a team of volunteers to run the food bank at St Nicholas Church in Bristol and says he has never seen anything like it before.

He told the Daily Express he was angry things had come to this.

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“Compared to a year ago when our shelves were full of basics like cans of baked beans, pasta, rice and milk etc, we now have a shortage,” he said. -he declares.

“We often have to go out to a supermarket or cash and carry and pay just enough to get us through the day with the basics.

“It’s not unusual – it happens maybe once or twice a week.”

Before the pandemic, the food bank distributed 20 food parcels per week, but this figure increased to 500 during COVID-19.

While the food bank currently has 40% less stock than the same time last year, some days all it has is “just a few cans” and “maybe a bag of potatoes”.

Church coffers have to make up the difference as middle-class families struggle to help and even teachers have to rely on food parcels.

“We had teachers who came here to help us,” McKay added. “I find all of this alarming – everyone is feeling the pressure.

“I know a lot of food banks struggle because we all tend to help each other.”

“Before, we had to store our food in another part of the church because we had so much,” he added.

“I am angry that in a rich society like ours, there can be such poverty. There is no doubt that some people will have to be hungry.

Not only are the British struggling to buy food, they are also struggling to cook it.

More and more people are asking Father Richard and his volunteers for preserves because they cannot afford to cook with fresh produce.

“There’s no point in giving them meat – they can’t afford to cook it,” he said.

Emma Revie, chief executive of the Trussell Trust, said: “How can this be fair in a society like ours?

“And yet the food banks in our network tell us it will only get worse as their communities are plunged deeper into financial hardship. No one’s income should fall so dangerously low that they cannot allow you to stay nourished, warm and dry.

“There is still time for the UK government to do the right thing. We call on the UK government to bring benefits in line with the true cost of living.”

She said an urgent first step would be to increase benefits by at least the rate of inflation, to keep pace with the rising cost of living.

“In the longer term, we need the government to introduce a commitment into the benefit system to ensure that everyone has enough money in their pockets to avoid falling into destitution.”

Tim, a 36-year-old from London, said he was worried about how he would make ends meet despite working and receiving Universal Credit to supplement his income.

He said: “I am really worried about what the next few months could be like as the cost of living increases more and more.

“I’m trying to make the best of the situation, but I’ve already had to go to a food bank. I also made the decision not to turn on my heating to save money and go without certain types of food.

“For things to change, the government needs to increase the amount of Social Security payments so everyone can afford to put food on the table.”

Back in Bristol, Father McKay tells the Daily Express how it’s the worst he’s seen people struggle in 45 years of working alongside inner-city communities.

In addition to feeding the hungry, the church has a deprivation fund where it uses cash donations to help people pay for gas and electricity.

“We give £250 a week – that’s over £1,000 a month and we find it’s just not enough,” Fr McKay said. “We absolutely must prioritize the cries of the poor. A politician should come here and just hear the stories.

“And when in the summer people say they can’t pay the fuel bills and cook, how is that going to be in the winter?”

A government spokesperson said: ‘We understand people are struggling with rising prices, which is why we have acted to protect Britain’s eight million most vulnerable families with at least £1,200 of direct payments this year with additional support for retirees and those applying for disability benefits. .

“Through our £37billion support package, we are also saving the typical employee over £330 a year with a tax cut in July, allowing people on Universal Credit to keep £1,000 more pounds of what they earn and reducing fuel tax by 5p saving a typical family £100.



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