Thousands more households are turning to the UK’s food banks for the first time as the cost-of-living crisis deepens, new research shows.

According to a survey by community giving platform Neighbourly and Aldi – which work together to distribute surplus food from the supermarket’s stores – almost all food banks (99%) have seen a surge in demand since the start of the year.

Neighbourly recently polled more than 700 food banks and community causes nationwide and found that an estimated one third of people (33%) using these services in recent months had been new to the food banks and never in this position before.

On average, food banks reported an average rise in demand of around 31% for their services so far this year, with expectations of a similar (35%) increase in the next three months as higher energy bills and an increase in national insurance contributions add to the pressure.

In particular, food banks estimate that demand for food provision rises by around a third during the school holidays, with 89% saying they have capacity to take more donations of food with the Easter school holidays approaching.

Aldi will be supporting charities, community groups and food banks throughout the UK by donating almost 250,000 meals to people in need during the Easter school holidays.

Around 105 tonnes of food will be donated throughout the UK, with more than 187,000 meals expected to be donated to causes focused on supporting families and children.

Liz Fox, Corporate Responsibility Director at Aldi UK, said: “The school holidays can be a particularly busy time for the local charities and organisations we support, but, especially in the current climate, it is likely these organisations will soon see greater demand than ever before.

“We’re proud to support good causes across the country, helping them to provide meals to those in need all year round. Customers can also donate in store if they wish, with donation points located by the packing benches in all our stores.”

Steve Butterworth, from Neighbourly, added: “The findings of our latest survey highlight that the cost-of-living crisis is clearly deepening, with families and households up and down the country really starting to feel the pinch and turning to charities and local causes for support as a result.

“During what is a hard time for everyone, anything people can do to give back in the coming weeks will make all the difference.”

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