East Midlands Labour Member of the European Parliament has called the need for food banks “shameful” and has warned that more people could need them after Brexit.
Rory Palmer, MEP, has praised Worksop foodbank volunteers as he rolled up his sleeves to help out at the Bassetlaw Food Bank on Lowtown Street.
Mr Palmer joined regular volunteers to sort through donations and make up emergency food parcels for people in the area.
He said: “I came here today with a car boot full of food, toiletries and essential household items donated by my office staff and colleagues.
“I also wanted to find out more about how the food bank operates and I’ve been really impressed at what I’ve seen.
“The volunteers who come here week in, week out are absolute community heroes, but it shouldn’t be necessary in the 21st Century in one of the world’s wealthiest countries.”
New figures released by the Trussell Trust, a charity that works to end hunger and poverty in the UK, reveal that December is the busiest month for food banks.
Paula Howard, the food bank manager, said: “Our donors and local volunteers are wonderful people, but nothing would give me more pleasure than telling them that the job is done, and me making myself redundant.
“Sadly, that isn’t going to happen any time soon.”
Mr Palmer also expressed concern at the impact Brexit may cause, with the outcomes ranging from the Prime Minister’s compromise deal, to a ‘No Deal’.
Labour has said this could mean higher food prices and a greater squeeze on household budgets as inflation rises - meaning more “people turning to food banks but fewer donations”. A situation that Mr Palmer describes as a ‘vicious circle’.
Mr Palmer said: “It’s shameful that people in modern Britain are unable to make ends meet and go hungry. And things could get worse.
“I’ve previously warned that a bad Brexit deal or no deal at all, could drive up inflation leading to an even greater squeeze on household budgets.
“With Christmas approaching I would encourage people to buy a few extra items when they go shopping. Small donations from local people keep Bassetlaw food bank going.”
Donations can be made directly to the food bank on Lowtown Street, Worksop, which is open from 10am to 2pm on weekdays.