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More and more people turn to food banks to survive
HUNDREDS of children in Bournemouth and Poole are being fed from food banks as their parents struggle to make ends meet.
Bournemouth and Poole Foodbanks and Bournemouth Community Church Life Centre have all reported big increases in the number of families picking up food parcels.
Nationally more than 1million children do not know where their next meal is coming from, and a shocking two pupils in every school class are going hungry.
Debbie Bramley, manager of Bournemouth Foodbank in Charminster, said they have fed more than 340 children since April.
Last year 1,714 of their 5,553 recipients were children.
Debbie said: “The whole thing has just been a nightmare. We feed 100 – 115 people a week and the number of food parcels we’re giving out has doubled.
“I think we are just touching the tip of the iceberg. A lot of people still do not know about us and we’re struggling to keep up with demand as it is.
“We’re seeing working families come in just desperate.”
Health visitors say children are undernourished, for example on the Townsend estate, she added.
One family who were “on the brink of starvation” in 2011 brought in four bags of food last week to say thank you, she said.
Suzie Tardif, from Bourne-mouth Community Church Life Centre, says there has been a “marked increase” in take up from families over the last six months.
She said: “It’s a sign of what the government is doing with the benefits system.
“A lot of peoples’ benefits have suddenly stopped, bills are coming in and they’re left high and dry, really struggling to feed families.”
Poole Food Bank, at Longfleet United Reformed Church, fed 360 people in June, a rise from 215 in 2011 and 162 in 2010.
Manager Lorraine Russell said: “It’s ordinary people this is happening to, and there’s an alarming trend across the country of children going to school hungry.”
n WEBSITE Netmums and charity Kids Company carried out the national survey.
Netmums founder Siobhan Freegard said: “Too many children are not on the breadline, they are way, way under it.
“It’s horrifying to realise how many kids are suffering around the UK. “They are having their chances ruined before their lives have barely begun.”