The demand for emergency food in Brighton and Hove has soared during the coronavirus lockdown, according to a leading charity.
FareShare – the food poverty charity championed by Manchester United and England footballer Marcus Rashford – is also expecting even more demand as the government’s furlough scheme ends.
In Brighton and Hove the charity distributed 115 tonnes of food in July, up from 31 tonnes in February.
This was a rise of 271 per cent and the equivalent of more than a quarter of a million meals.
And overall FareShare Sussex distributed 165 tonnes of food in July, equal to more than 380,000 meals and a 300 per cent increase compared with February, the month before the lockdown started.
Rob Orme, chief executive of the charity, which is based in Moulsecoomb, predicted that the increased demand for emergency food would continue between now and Christmas.
Mr Orme said: “I am sure there will be an uplift in demand as furlough ends.
“The challenge will be to make sure that there is sufficient food in the system to meet that demand.”
He welcomed the campaign by Marcus Rashford who successfully persuaded the government to do a u-turn over its school voucher scheme and extend the programme through the summer holidays.
Rashford, who has been working in partnership with FareShare nationally, has now set up a food poverty taskforce.
It aims to put pressure on the government to introduce key recommendations from its national food strategy published in July as the next step in his fight to eradicate food poverty.
Mr Orme said: “His campaign has been fantastic. He brought the issue of food poverty to the forefront and has brought about a government u-turn as a result.
“He strongly believes in what he is doing and is prepared to take action.”
FareShare Sussex redistributes surplus from the food industry to local community groups and charities supporting vulnerable people.
It relies on donations to continue its vital work. Just £10 pays for enough food for 40 meals.
To donate, click here.