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Thousands of people helped by food banks

The shocking number of people seeking urgent help from Derbyshire’s food banks has been revealed.

Over the last year, 6,117 residents – including nearly 2,100 children – were handed three days of emergency produce from the county’s food banks, according to the Trussell Trust.

The charity says the rising cost of living combined with low incomes, high unemployment and benefit changes are causing more people to turn to food banks for help.

Since opening last June, Chesterfield food bank has fed 1,369 people and handed out essentials like washing powder, nappies and shampoo to families who are at breaking point.

Ben Martin, manager at Chesterfield food bank, said: “We’re seeing growing numbers coming to us for help, which shouldn’t be happening in the seventh richest country in the world.

“We don’t think anyone should have to go hungry, which is why we’re so grateful for the incredible generosity of local people in donating food, funds and time to stop hunger in Chesterfield.”

Nationally, nearly one million adults and children have received at least three days of emergency help from food banks over the past 12 months – a 162 per cent jump on the previous year.

On the Derbyshire Times’ Facebook page, we asked readers for their thoughts on this story.

Robert Warwick said: “It’s really sad one of the richest countries in the world like ours has food banks. Shame on us.”

David Martin said: “I do a lot of work with food banks. It’s a disgrace that families have to rely on handouts. These are working families who struggle on the minimum wage and zero-hour contracts. What kind of society are we living in.”

Mel Bunting said: “I live in fear of having to use a food bank. I am disabled and the Tories are really making life hard for us.”

Angela Sharpe said: “Thousands of people forced to use food banks are actually in work but as their wages are low and outgoings are high they need help. In one of the richest countries in the world that is utterly disgusting!”

Paul Walker said: “Now that food banks have become popular it is safe to say that they will be around for many years to come. Although I believe they do a lot of good it is open to abuse.”

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