Labour Students will be organising a collection for the local food bank at all our events this year, starting with Summer Training on 24-25th August.

Lottie Doherty, Chair of St Andrews Labour Society (@lottieemily__)

The UK’s largest food bank provider, The Trussell Trust, reported that between 1 April 2018 and 31 March 2019, it gave out a record 1.6 million emergency food parcels, a 19% increase on the previous year. In addition, there are at least 800 independent food banks across the UK, so these figures do not fully explain the scale of food bank usage across the UK. Since 2014, usage of food banks in the Trussell Trust network has increased by 73%. This drastic increase in food bank usage is symptomatic of rising poverty, which is being fuelled by the failure of the Conservative government. 

Individuals are relying on food banks due to the failure of the welfare system, and low income. Delayed benefit payments, such as long waits for Universal Credit payments, inadequate benefits income, and an increasing cost of living mean that more and more people cannot afford to eat. More and more people are having to choose between paying rent, paying bills, buying essential items such as clothing, and eating. This should not be happening. It is disgraceful that this is the reality in our country, in one of the richest countries in the world. 

Ideally, there would be no need for food banks; ideally, the government would take immediate action to eliminate poverty, such as implementing a real living wage and repairing the broken benefits system. However, while we still have a Tory government, action will not be taken. Food bank usage will only increase. So while we also need to campaign for a general election and a Labour government who will take action, we need to be supporting our food banks. Food banks rely on those of us who can to donate essential items such as toilet roll, cleaning products, tinned meat and vegetables, and other long life food products. Without these donations, food banks cannot provide food parcels. Without donations, people will go hungry.

To stop people starving, it is incredibly important to donate to a food bank. If you have a couple of pounds spare, buy an extra packet of pasta, box of tampons, or tin of vegetables, and donate it. There are often food bank donation points at supermarkets, churches, or schools. If you do this whenever you can afford to, you will be making a big difference to the lives of the most vulnerable members of our society. Start collecting food bank donations at events you host, at meetings, pub quizzes, birthday parties, concerts. Food banks and the food parcels they provide are lifesaving, donating to a food bank is lifesaving. We have to donate to food banks whenever we can, or more and more people will fail to have their most basic needs met. 

Get in touch with labourstudents@labourstudents.org.uk to get involved with or find out more about our food bank collections.

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