With Christmas just a few weeks away, St Giles Trust is concerned that further pressures on the cost of living, will mean more people than ever will need the support of food hubs to stay healthy.
New figures on the increasing cost of living have been released. With inflation rising to a higher-than-expected rate of 11.1%, according to the Office for National Statistics1. An increasing number of people will be affected by food poverty as a result of this crisis, as household budgets are slashed even further and basic food times continue to rise in cost.
St Giles is asking people to help support those who are now struggling, so that clients and their families stay warm and well-fed this Christmas. And so, St Giles can support them towards stability and independence in the longer-term through the dark days ahead. A single donation of £24 alone could provide two weekly shops for people struggling to make ends meet, with wraparound practical support to help end food poverty for good, from the St Giles Pantry.
The charity runs a network of five food Pantries in London, Leeds and Coventry to help families who are struggling to make ends meet – offering nutritious, healthy food plus expert advice and support on issues trapping clients in poverty. They offer a sustainable route out of poverty.
For Gareth, the Coventry Pantry has been a lifeline and a way of keeping living costs manageable.
“Fruit, bread and milk prices, the essentials have all gone up and it puts me off buying them – I’m really feeling the pinch. I feel I’m just not getting a lot of value for the money. But the Pantry has helped me with access to nutritious products. They have become a vital service,” he said.
Gareth now volunteers at the Pantry to help others in a similar situation.
Qualified St Giles staff are based at each Pantry offering advice and guidance services to people to help address debt, low-paid employment, skills and training needs. Crucially, the staff all have direct experience of these issues themselves and are now employed by St Giles to help others make positive progress.
St Giles acting chief executive Malcolm Walker said:
“After two years of unwanted Covid disruption, many of us are looking forward to a return to normal Christmas festivities that we enjoyed before the Pandemic.
But for the UK’s most vulnerable families, Christmas this year could mean a stark choice between whether to buy food, heating or presents for children. We want everyone, particularly those under extreme financial pressure, to enjoy Christmas, but when the basics aren’t met, that’s just impossible”.
“With spiralling food and energy costs this year, we know that for too many people it’s becoming tougher and tougher to keep heads above water. That’s why we’re asking people to donate towards helping a family in need and giving them the lifeline they deserve”.
To find out more and to donate, see our Christmas appeal page.