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The demand for hand-outs from food donation charities has drastically increased, new figures suggest.
Fareshare, an organisation which redirects food surpluses to those in need, said it was now delivering food to 35,000 people a day - a substantial increase from last year’s 29,000.
The charity said there has been a year-on-year increase as more low-income families struggle to meet rising food prices. It also said that one in three of the charities surveyed was now facing government cuts.
Fareshare, which has 17 locations across the UK, redistributes food to organisations including homeless hostels, women’s refuses, after-school clubs and day centres. In the past, its donations mainly went to homeless people, but now there are more “destitute families” among its recipients after an “increase in people and the types of people” seeking food.
Fareshare Chief Executive Lindsay Boswell said: “At a time of unprecedented demand we want the food industry and the general public to increase their support.” He added: “This research supports the growing anecdotal evidence we’ve seen in recent months - more people are getting in touch with Fareshare asking for help to access food.
“Demand for food is increasing as many of the charities we support are facing spending cuts and are slashing their food budgets in an effort to stay afloat. These charities are having their ability to provide food tested, as rising inflation, unemployment and changes to the benefits system are forcing more people to seek their help and support. It’s this combination of problems that is causing a sharp increase in hunger in communities all over the UK.”
The organisation, which works with more than 100 companies in the food and drink industry, said 42 per cent of the charities it surveyed reported an increase in demand for food in the past year.
And according to 150 of the 700 organisations Fareshare supplies, 65 per cent said they were slashing food budgets in order to stay afloat. Last year, Fareshare provided a total of 8.6 million meals to 600 groups, but is now facing unprecedented demand from 700.