THE Isle of Wight Foodbank provided 2,212 emergency food packages in just six months - 823 of which went to children.

The emergency supplies, which contain three days' worth of food, were given to Isle of Wight people in crisis between April 1 and September 30.

Following further increases in demand, attributed locally to the number of people struggling with benefit payments and low wages, the foodbank has appealed for help ahead of Christmas.

It's traditionally a busy time for foodbanks as people are faced with large energy and other bills, and can struggle to cope.

The charity has appealed for food donations and for people to hold fundraising events or contribute to its reverse advent campaign, by setting aside one item a day throughout December to donate to the foodbank.

Isle of Wight Foodbank manager Hannah King said: "It's really worrying that we are still seeing an increase in the need for emergency food across the Isle of Wight.

"Every week people are referred to us after something unavoidable like illness, a delayed benefit payment or an unexpected bill means there's no money for food. It's only with local people's help that we're able to provide vital support when it matters most, and whilst we hope one day there'll be no need for our work, until that day comes we'll be working hard to help prevent people going hungry."

Mark Ward, interim chief executive at national foodbank charity The Trussell Trust, said: "We're seeing soaring demand at foodbanks across the UK. Our network is working hard to stop people going hungry but the simple truth is that even with the enormous generosity of our donors and volunteers, we're concerned foodbanks could struggle to meet demand this winter if critical changes to benefit delivery aren't made now.

"People cannot be left for weeks without any income, and when that income does come, it must keep pace with living costs. Foodbanks cannot be relied upon to pick up the pieces.

"Without urgent action from policy-makers and even more generous practical support from the public, we don't know how foodbanks are going to stop families and children going hungry this Christmas."

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