A Christian charity running a nationwide network of foodbanks has been named 'Britain's most admired charity' by chief executives of charities and not-for-profit organisations in the UK.
The Trussell Trust runs 360 foodbanks through churches across the UK. The foodbanks provide emergency food handouts for people struggling to make ends meet.
The charity received the honour at Third Sector's 2013 charity awards, held this year at Google's headquarters in London.
Third sector CEOs were asked to select the charity they felt had gained the admiration of others in the sector as a result of its achievements, whether in fulfilling its objectives, providing outstanding service to beneficiaries, or carving out a distinctive position and voice for itself.
The accolade coincides with new research revealing that one in five parents in the UK are struggling to feed their children.
The charity fears that households receiving free school meals will be stretched to breaking point over the school holidays.
In the prevailing economic instability, Trussell Trust has provided emergency food to a record number of people in the last financial year, with 346,992 people being supported through its foodbanks, an increase of 170 per cent on the previous year. Three new foodbanks are currently opening every week to help meet demand.
Trussell Trust Executive Chairman Chris Mould said: "To be voted 'Britain's Most Admired Charity' by our charity peers is an incredible honour. We are absolutely delighted.
"The award is testament to the efforts of hundreds of churches and communities across the UK who have joined us to take action against the real and growing problem of UK hunger by starting or donating to foodbanks.
"We'd like to thank all the charity executives who voted for us and say a big thank you and well done to our highly dedicated staff and volunteers and to all our amazing supporters who make what we do possible."
Stephen Cook, editor of Third Sector, said: "Two of our winners this year serve to underscore the value placed on independence in an age of growing public service delivery.
'The Trussell Trust, Britain's Most Admired Charity 2013, is a charity in the traditional mould, founded by caring, religious individuals to respond to a growing need in society without any government involvement."