One ton boost for food banks as more families rely on emergency parcels to survive the summer

John Bennett, warehouse coordinator for the Stoke food bank, Lee Brook, Osborne general foreperson; Kimberley Wild, Osborne performance manager; and Humzah Mir, Highways England project manager dropping off a huge collection of food

Food banks have been given a major boost at a critical time as Christian charity the Trussell Trust warns that more families are depending on emergency food parcels to stave off hunger over the extended summer break.

Recent figures from the trust show that 87,496 food parcels went to children in the UK during the summer break in 2018, up 20 per cent on the same period in 2017.

The summer break is a challenging time for low income families, when their children are not in school where they are entitled to free meals. 

The Trussell Trust has said it expects demand for its food banks to be just as high this summer.  

Highways England teams looking after motorways and A roads in the East Midlands have pulled together to help out by collecting one ton in food donations from regional offices.

Another 37kg of goods was collected by workers carrying out the widening of the A500 in Staffordshire. 

The huge haul includes tinned goods, pasta, rice, tea bags and toilet rolls. 

Altogether they collected 156 tins of baked beans, 170 tins of tuna, 90 bags of pasta, 139 jars of cooking sauces, 155 tins of vegetables, 40 boxes of tea bags, 79 toilet rolls and over 300 packs of nappies.

The collections will be shared across three food banks in the region.

With some of the food collected in the East Midlands are Nicola Tomlinson, of Highways England and Kay Fleming from nmcn

Nigel Webster, from the Bulwell and Bestwood Foodbank in Nottingham, said the donation came at just the right time as stocks had been running low.

Highways England Assistant Contract Collaboration Manager Nicola Tomlinson said: "This fantastic contribution from all of our suppliers really does take working collaboratively to the next level.

"I'm astounded by the generosity of the workforces and hope our donation will make a big difference to families in communities across our region." 

The A500 is being widened from two to three lanes in both directions between Porthill (A5271) and Wolstanton (A527) as part of a £17.5m upgrade.

A collection box has been set up at the site office for food donations and the first delivery was made just before the schools broke up for summer. The work on the road is not due to be completed until autumn 2020 and the collection box will remain in the office for the duration of the scheme to continue collecting food for future donations.

Gareth Duffield, the Trussell Trust's Area Manager for Birmingham and Northern Counties, said: "We're so glad food banks in our network could benefit from the collection organised by Highways England to help support people facing crisis.

"We have seen a record demand in food bank use in the past decade, with more and more people struggling to afford the basics. This isn't right.

"We're continually blown away by people's support to provide emergency help, and ultimately work towards a future without hunger and poverty."