Food banks in South Ayrshire handed out more than 100 emergency parcels every week last December – with nearly a third 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 South Ayrshire, the charity handed out 615 three-day emergency food parcels last December, equivalent to 139 every week – including 196 (32 per cent) to children.
It meant the charity recorded a 14 per cent increase in demand in the area, compared to the monthly average for 2018-19.
Meanwhile, separate figures published by the charity show nine per cent 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 10 of us believe hunger in the UK is a problem – food banks cannot and should not have to continue to pick up the pieces.”
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 Universal Credit people can get paid urgently if they need it and 95 per cent of payments are made in full and on time.”