THE Vale Foodbank is calling for candidates on all sides to pledge to protect people from hunger.

The call comes after it was revealed 2,451 emergency food parcels were given to people in the Vale between April 1 and September 30 this year.

Of this number, 981 went to children.

The figures are a 55 per cent increase on the same period last year.

The Vale Foodbank is part of the Trussell Trust’s network, which announced that the need for emergency food parcels in the UK is at an all-time high.

The new figures come after the Trussell Trust released State of Hunger, the most in-depth study ever published into hunger and the drivers of food bank use in the UK.

The findings 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.

The Vale Foodbank is backing the Trussell Trust’s call for candidates on all sides to work towards a future where no one needs a food bank and pledge to protect people from hunger by ensuring everyone has enough money for the basics.

The Trussell Trust is asking our next government to end the five week wait for universal credit; ensure benefit payments cover the cost of living; and invest in local emergency support for people in crisis.

The local increase in need for the food bank is due to people struggling with the five-week wait for a first universal credit payment and people receiving payments that don’t cover the cost of essentials.

Vale Foodbank trustee, Susan Lloyd-Selby said: “It’s a real concern that in just six months we’ve provide 2,451 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 the Vale 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 Vale Foodbank is particularly in need of UHT milk, fruit juice, tinned meat, and tinned vegetables.

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.