MORE than 900 emergency food parcels have been given out as Taunton Foodbank saw a 93 per cent increase in demand.

The figures for April show the foodbank, which is run by the Trussel Trust, issued food to 939 people - 387 of those were children.

These stats demonstrate a 93 per cent increase on the same time last year.

The foodbank believes the local increase is due to impact of the coronavirus on people who were already struggling on a low income either as a result of being dependent on the benefit system or being in low paid insecure work.

Sue Weightman, foodbank manager said: “We’re dedicated to ensuring that people across Taunton Deane without enough money for food are able to access emergency support.

We’ve been making big changes to our work to ensure we can continue to offer people who can’t afford essentials the emergency help that is needed as safely as possible. But ultimately, no one in Somerset should need to use a food bank. 939 emergency food parcels to local people is 939 emergency food parcels too many.

"This isn’t right and cannot continue.

“Our vital work in the community has only been possible in the last few months because of the incredible generosity shown by local people in donating food, time and funds.

"To everyone that has donated - thank you."

The foodbank relies on the support of people across Taunton Deane - and residents have been quick to answer calls to help in the past.

Anyone who is interesting in helping now is asked to considering donating food or funds to keep them going.

The Trussell Trust, as part of a coalition of anti-poverty charities, is calling for the UK government to put a Coronavirus Emergency Income Support Scheme in place to ensure people can access the support they need to avoid them being swept into destitution.

Chief executive of the Trussell Trust, Emma Revie, said: “We have been seeing rises in food bank need across the UK for the past five years, but our latest national figures show that in April food banks in our network reported a soaring 89% increase in need - with the number of families coming to food banks doubling.

"This is completely unprecedented and not right. People need to be able to put food on their table. The government must put urgent support in place to ensure people already struggling to keep their heads above water can stay afloat. We have outlined what we need our government to do - it’s in our power to protect one another, we’ve seen it during this health crisis, and we need it to continue during this economic one.”

For more information on donating time, funds or money to Taunton Foodbank visit