ALMOST one in ten people in the south west have skipped a meal, gone without food to feed their children or relied on family and friends for food in the last year, according to research just published.
The figures have been released by Tesco, which has also confirmed it will be the first supermarket to partner with the foodbanks run across the country by Salisbury charity the Trussell Trust.
Salisbury foodbank sees the reality of food poverty on the ground every day.
More and more people are finding themselves in need of help to feed their families, and nationally the foodbanks fed almost 110,000 people in the last six months, compared to 128,697 people in the whole of last year. Chris Mould, executive chairman of Trussell Trust said: “Across the UK Trussell Trust foodbanks are seeing thousands more people in crisis turn to us for help.
“Every day we meet parents who are skipping meals to feed their children, or people who are forced to choose between eating and heating.
“This winter is looking particularly bleak as food and energy prices rise while incomes remain static.”
The research found that in total, around 10 per cent of people in the South West have suffered from some form of food poverty in the last 12 months, with 5 per cent of people skipping meals and 4 per cent relying on friends or family to provide food.
Significant numbers of parents had also gone without food to feed their children.
The research also found that in the last year, 20 per cent of people in the region had changed their eating habits, buying less expensive food or reducing the amount they eat.
The Trussell Trust is anticipating an even big demand for emergency food nationwide this Christmas.
Tesco is launching the partnership by holding a nationwide food collection at 800 stores on December 1 and 2. The UK’s biggest supermarket is taking the lead in helping foodbanks to feed people going hungry in the UK. Food surplus charity Fareshare is also getting involved, helping the trust to distribute some of the food received.
Mr Mould said: “We are delighted that Tesco is working with The Trussell Trust’s network of over 280 UK foodbanks and FareShare to help stop people going hungry this Christmas. We’d like to encourage everyone to give a can or two to help make this Christmas a happier one for people in crisis. Thank you.”