Summer food parcel distribution in all of the south east London boroughs has hit an all-time high since 2018 – with Lewisham seeing the highest leap in demand for parcels.

Recent numbers illustrate an alarming climb in the need for basic food supplies within the boroughs.

The Trussell Trust, which operates over 1,500 food banks nationwide, has reported on this significant surge occurring across the country.

Between April and September, Lewisham witnessed a staggering 38 per cent increase in food parcel handouts.

This summer, a total of 12,014 emergency food parcels were delivered across seven food banks in the area.

Comparing the same timeframe last year, the figure stood at 8,689, significantly lower than this year's number.

A total of 3,930 of these summer food parcels are specifically designated for children in Lewisham.

However, this trend is not just happening in Lewisham.

An upward trajectory in food parcel allocation was evident across all south east London boroughs, albeit not to the same extent.

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In Bexley, the charity distributed 7,626 emergency food parcels from April through to September.

This represented an increase of 26 per cent compared to the 6,033 parcels given out during the same period the previous year.

The Trust identified 3,159 of these parcels as specifically for children.

Similar trends emerged in Bromley as its food banks handed out 3,496 parcels through the summer months, marking a 12 per cent increase from the previous year's figure of 3,119.

Of these 1,320 were provided to children.

Greenwich's increase was the smallest among these boroughs, but it still recorded a rise of five per cent, with 8,049 parcels handed out compared to 7,698 the preceding summer.

Around 3,172 of these went out to children.

Nationwide, record-breaking numbers showed nearly 1.5 million parcels distributed - surpassing the summer of 2022's figures by 200,000.

These figures specifically cover parcels handed out by the Trussell Trust, leaving uncounted those extra parcels provided by other organisations.

Emma Revie, chief executive of the Trussell Trust, said: "An increasing number of children are growing up in families facing hunger, forced to turn to food banks to survive."

"A generation is growing up believing that it’s normal to see a food bank in every community. This is not right," she added.

Ms Revie continued: "Rising hunger and hardship have devastating consequences for individuals and our communities, damage the nation’s health and hold back our economy.

"People in work, as well as people who cannot work, are increasingly being pushed into debt and forced to turn to a food bank to survive.”

Across the UK, the North East of England and Wales had the highest levels of food bank usage, with one parcel handed out for every 35 residents in both areas.

London, meanwhile, had a parcel given out for every 41 people in the region.

The Trussell Trust charity’s UK-wide network of food banks said 65 per cent of all the parcels dispatched between April and September this year were for families with children.

In response, the organisation has called for an "essentials guarantee" – meaning Universal Credit should protect people from going without the basics – and for benefits to rise in line with inflation in this year's Autumn Statement A spokesperson for the Department for Work and Pensions said: "There are 1.7 million fewer people in absolute poverty than in 2010, but we know some families are struggling, which is why we are providing a record support package worth £3,300 per household.

"This includes the latest cost of living payments paid directly to over eight million households this year, our decision to raise benefits by over 10 per cent earlier this year and our £2 billion Household Support Fund which is helping people to buy essentials."