A NEW report from the Salvation Army shows that more people are relying on food parcels and soup kitchens than ever before.
Officers and volunteers across the UK have handed out almost 35,000 food parcels since the start of last December, with hundreds sent out from a centre in Mirfield.
And with unemployment rising in the UK, and the economic climate still looking bleak, that number is set to rise even further still.
Some of the recipients said that their need for the food parcels was down to the recession, but many said the changes to the benefits system are to blame.
Angela Nunn, a Salvation Army leader in West Yorkshire, said: “I have encountered some lovely people with unbelievable stories.
“Some have had their benefits suspended for 10 weeks because they missed a medical, some claims have taken weeks to be processed. An older gentleman wore three pairs of trousers because he couldn’t afford heat while he was waiting for payment.”
Major Alison Gardner, another West Yorkshire official in the Salvation Army, doesn’t expect the numbers to drop any time soon.
“The debts of Christmas are catching up with people so I expect more to come to us from now on. Our food bank and soup kitchen have been very busy. Doctors are even referring people who are lacking in nutrition.”