THE number of food parcels distributed to children by food banks in Bradford doubled in the first six months of the Covid-19 pandemic, compared with the previous year.

The new figures, from the Trussell Trust, showed the total number of food parcels handed out between April and September 2020 rose by 93.6 per cent in Bradford to 10,217, compared to the same period in 2019.

This was almost four times the increase across Yorkshire, and more than double the national average increase.

The number handed out to children rose by 107 per cent, from 2,013 to 4,174, meaning almost 23 parcels were handed out every day during the first six months of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In total, almost 56 parcels were handed out to vulnerable people in need every day over the spring and summer months.

This was despite the number of Trussell Trust affiliated food banks reducing from nine to six across the district.

Leeds and Sheffield were the only areas which handed out more food parcels, with 14,806 parcels distributed in Sheffield and 10,407 in Leeds.

Across Yorkshire and the Humber, the number of parcels handed out rose by 25 per cent, with more than 60,000 parcels handed out.

Across the UK, 1.24 million parcels were distributed in the six month period from April to September, up from 843,655 in 2019.

The Trussell Trust said while the figures highlight the level of need across the UK, it does not show the full extent of the problem as the work done by councils, independent food banks and community groups are not included in the figures.

Emma Revie, chief executive of the Trussell Trust, said: “Throughout 2020, communities across Yorkshire and the Humber have stepped in to provide vital support to people left without enough money.

"Volunteers in food banks have been working hard under extremely difficult circumstances to make sure support is there for people struggling to afford essentials.

"But it’s not right that any of us are forced to a charity for food, at any time of year.   

“In the last few weeks, we’ve seen incredible compassion and concern for people facing hunger following Marcus Rashford’s brilliant campaigning, and it's hugely welcome to see the government build on steps already taken by providing significant new funding for local councils in England.

"This vital local support must work in coordination with a national welfare system that is strong enough to act as a lifeline to anyone struggling to afford the essentials.  

“This pandemic has shown the unexpected can hit us suddenly, with devastating consequences for people’s lives. But it’s also shown we can make huge changes to the way we live and look after each other.

"It’s shown that when we come together to push for change, the government responds. Together, we can build a hunger free future.”

In the district, Bradford Central Food Bank, Bradford North Food Bank and Wyke Food Bank are all affiliated to the Trussell Trust.