The number of families with children receiving emergency food parcels in the UK has almost doubled in a year, it has emerged.

April was the busiest month ever for Trussell Trust’s food banks, with an 89 per cent increase in emergency food parcels delivered across the UK compared with the same month in 2019.

The number of parcels provided for children has more than doubled, while almost twice as many families with children are receiving them - a 95 per cent rise.

The figures have been collected from responses from 351 of the 425 food bank charities in the Trussell Trust network.

Many people rely on the UK food banks to get by

The Independent Food Aid Network (IFAN), which represents over 346 independent food banks, has reported a 175 per cent increase in need over the same period.

They have labelled the increased demand during the coronavirus pandemic “completely unprecedented”.

A coalition of charities is calling for the Government to provide more funding for councils so they can quickly get cash to families through a temporary emergency income support scheme.

Chief executive of the Trussell Trust Emma Revie said: “We have been seeing rises in food bank need for the past five years but this 89 per cent increase – with the number of families coming to food banks doubling – is completely unprecedented and not right.

“People need to be able to put food on their table. The government must put urgent support in place to ensure people already struggling to keep their heads above water can stay afloat.

“We have outlined what we need our government to do – it’s in our power to protect one another, we’ve seen it during this health crisis, and we need it to continue during this economic one.”

You don't have to suffer in silence if you're struggling with your mental health. Here are some groups you can contact when you need help:

Samaritans: Phone 116 123, 24 hours a day, or email [email protected], in confidence

Childline: Phone 0800 1111. Calls are free and won't show up on your bill

PAPYRUS: A voluntary organisation supporting suicidal teens and young adults. Phone 0800 068 4141

Depression Alliance: A charity for people with depression. No helpline but offers useful resources and links to other information on its website

Students Against Depression: A website for students who are depressed, have low mood, or are suicidal. Click here to visit

Bullying UK: A website for both children and adults affected by bullying. Click here

Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM): For young men who are feeling unhappy. Has a website here and a helpline: 0800 58 58 58

IFAN coordinator Sabine Goodwin said: “Our food bank figures paint a grim picture of what is unfolding across the UK and the numbers of people having to resort to emergency food parcels to survive.

“But the solution to the escalating food insecurity crisis has never been the provision of charitable food aid. Everyone needs to be able to afford to buy food and the bare essentials.

“Our joint call details how this can start to be achieved and we urge the Government to act swiftly and decisively to reverse this devastating trend.”

A Government spokesman said: “We understand that this is a difficult time for people on low incomes and we’ve taken significant action to support those affected by coronavirus, including through income protection schemes, mortgage holidays and additional support for renters.

“For those most in need we’ve injected more than £6.5 billion into the welfare system, which includes an increase to Universal Credit of up to £1,040 a year.

“No one has to wait five weeks for money as urgent payments are available, while some people may be eligible for a nine-month grace period where their income is not capped.”