A BARNSLEY-WIDE foodbank operation which runs more than a dozen hubs across the borough handed out 10,000 emergency food parcels to those in desperate need in a year, latest figures obtained by the Chronicle reveal.

Barnsley Foodbank, which is supported by the Trussell Trust, has its main site on Aldham Industrial Estate, Wombwell, but spans from Athersley to Goldthorpe.

Latest figures show 9,923 ‘emergency’ food parcels - which can offer up to a week’s worth of supplies in worst-case scenarios - were handed out to people in need across its 13 locations in Barnsley in the year to March.

However, this was slightly down from 10,555 the year before, but about a third - 3,140 - went to hungry children.

Emma Revie, the Trussell Trust’s chief executive, said: “It’s 2024 and we’re facing historically high levels of foodbank need.

“As a society, we cannot allow this to continue - we must not let food banks become the new norm.

“As we approach the next general election, we urgently need all political leaders to set out how they will build a future where no-one needs a food bank to survive.

“Voters want to see a change and we need cross-government action at all levels to deliver it.

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“An increasing number of children are growing up in families facing hunger, forced to turn to foodbanks to survive.

“A generation is growing up believing that it’s normal to see a foodbank in every community.”

In 2019/20, before the Covid-19 pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis’ impacts were felt, just 4,536 parcels were handed out in Barnsley.

Figures cover food parcels handed out by the Trussell Trust’s 13 sites, but other organisations are also providing support to those in need in the area.

Support provided across the UK reached record-high levels, with the charity calling on the government to ‘build a future where no-one needs a foodbank to survive’.

Stephanie Peacock, MP for Barnsley East, added: “Parents have reported skipping meals so that children could eat, people were freezing in cold homes with the heating off in the winter and lots of people are experiencing financial stress and anxiety.

“Barnsley Foodbank reported that they have seen 46 per cent rise in children requiring food parcels across the borough - any child requiring a foodbank to eat is too many, but this is a truly heartbreaking figure.

“Families in Barnsley and across the country are struggling under the strain of poverty and food insecurity.

“With more than 15,000 children living in poverty in Barnsley and foodbanks reporting that rise in children needing food parcels, the work is vital in our community.

“In Barnsley East, 25 per cent of under-15s live in poverty - a shocking statistic - and a quarter of children in our local area are growing up in poverty.

“The Trussell Trust have raised concerns about people falling into chronic destitution.

“Families who were struggling before the cost-of-living crisis are unable to cut costs any more than they already have.

“Charities and local groups do incredible work to support their communities but this isn’t their mess to fix.”