THE shocking impact of the coronavirus pandemic on families’ access to food has been revealed in new statistics.

The number of food parcels delivered by the Trussell Trust to people struggling to afford essentials soared across Sussex, including Eastbourne and Wealden.

The figures in Rother and Wealden doubled, the Adur data quadrupled, and sharp rises were seen in Mid Sussex, Eastbourne, Chichester, Hastings and Horsham.

Chief executive of the Trussell Trust Emma Revie said: “Throughout 2020, communities across the South East 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 South East, the Trussell Trust delivered more than 149,000 emergency food parcels to people struggling to afford essentials between April and September.

More than 59,000 of these packages were provided for children – a 74 per cent increase on the same period last year.

Ms Revie said: “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.”