Dumfries and Galloway food banks handed out nine emergency parcels every day last December – with more than a quarter to children.
The UK’s biggest food bank network the Trussell Trust is bracing for its busiest ever Christmas, with figures suggesting a record numbers of people in need will seek support this December.
In Dumfries and Galloway, the charity handed out 291 three-day emergency food parcels last December, equivalent to nine every day – including 80 to children.
It meant the charity recorded a two per cent increase in demand, compared to the monthly average for 2018-19.
Meanwhile, separate figures published by the charity show 22% more food parcels were provided between April and September than the same six months just a year before – meaning demand will is likely to be even higher this winter.
Trussell Trust chief executive Emma Revie warned that communities across the country are being pushed into poverty.
She said: “Christmas is supposed to be a time of joy and celebration – but for too many people it’s becoming harder and harder to keep their heads above water.
“Nine in ten of us believe hunger in the UK is a problem – food banks cannot and should not have to continue to pick up the pieces.”
The number of food parcels handed out across the charity’s UK sites last December was 44 per cent higher than the monthly average for the year.
More than 186,000 parcels were given away during the month, of which two in five went to children.
Since the figures do not include other independent food banks, many more parcels are likely to have been distributed over the period.
Ms Revie said she wanted candidates in the upcoming General Election to pledge to protect people from hunger.
“Our next government must start working towards a future where no one needs a food bank,” she said.
“It’s in our power to reach a future where everyone has enough money for the basics. This can change.”
A spokesman for the Department for Work and Pensions said: “We spend over £95 billion a year on working-age benefits and Universal Credit supports more than 2.5 million people across the UK.
“With UC people can get paid urgently if they need it and 95 per cent of payments are made in full and on time.”