FAMILIES have helped provide almost a thousand emergency food parcels with concerns raised so many were needed.

The number of parcels required by struggling families is at an all-time high, according to recent figures from The Trussell Trust - a nationwide organisation which support a network of foodbanks.

A total of 977 emergency food parcels have been handed out in Basildon alone between April 1 and September 30 this year. Basildon Foodbank is now calling for urgent action and asking that potential MPs on all sides pledge to protect people from hunger following the shocking figures.

Of the 977 parcels handed out. 437 went to children.

Pastor Victor Oladele, manager at Basildon Foodbank, said: “It’s a real concern that in just six months we’ve provided 977 emergency supplies to local people.

“These figures don’t take into account our busiest time of year - as the colder weather draws in, we often find even more people needing our help.

“We believe that everyone should have enough money coming in to cover the basics, but right now, more and more people in Basildon are being forced to our food bank’s doors.

“This isn’t right.

“While our help is needed, we’re dedicated to ensuring that people in our community without enough money for food are able to access emergency support.

“Our vital work in the community has only been possible because of the incredible generosity shown by local people who have donated food, time and funds. Thank you.”

The figures are a 23 per cent increase on the same period last year.

The findings also revealed the average weekly income of people at food banks is only £50 after paying housing costs, and almost one in five have no money coming in at all in the month before being referred for emergency food.

Basildon Foodbank is particularly in need of tinned fish and meat food items. The charity has asked for festive donations to be donated in early December at the latest, to ensure volunteers have enough time to process and distribute these donations to people before Christmas.

Visit basildon.foodbank.org.uk