Debbie Abrahams, MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth, is lending a helping hand to collect supplies for families who would otherwise struggle over the Christmas period.
Mrs Abrahams, who is Labour’s Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, joined volunteers and staff from Oldham Foodbank and Tesco, on Huddersfield Road for the project.
Recently released data from the Trussell Trust shows how the organisation coped with a 47 per cent increase in the number of three-day emergency supplies last Christmas.
Mrs Abrahams said: “I am grateful for the wonderful work Oldham Foodbank do to support our local community and the generosity of people who provide food for those in need.
“Despite what the Government might think, it is absolutely unacceptable that so many families rely on foodbanks to get through Christmas.
“Our social security system, like the NHS, is there for us all when we need it and should not increase the need for foodbanks.
“But our own foodbank in Oldham, and hundreds of others across the UK, are expecting their busiest Christmas ever against backdrop of growing need.
“Labour is calling on the Government to pause and fix Universal Credit before Christmas, and lift the harmful social security freeze.”
Andrew Barr, Manager of Oldham Foodbank, said: “For many Oldhamers, this Christmas will not be a time for celebration.
“Every year we see a spike in demand at Christmas but this year we’re expecting our busiest Christmas ever.
“We’ll be working hard to provide not only those regular essentials, like pasta and cereal, but also little extras that offer hope at a time when people need it most.
“Last December, the public’s generosity meant we could help many local people eat over the festive period.
“We rely on donations, which is why we’re asking the public to show that same generosity again, not only this December but in the months that follow too.”
The recently released figures reveal that during December 2016, The Trussell Trust’s network provided 146,798 three-day emergency food supplies to people in crisis; 61,093 of these went to children.
This a 47 per cent increase on the monthly average of three-day emergency supplies provided in the 2016/17 financial year and means December 2016 was the busiest month for Trussell Trust foodbanks on record.
But the recent statistics show a 13 per cent rise in foodbank use during the first six months of this financial year, suggesting December 2017 will be even busier.
If you want to donate to Oldham Foodbank visit the website for further information, locations and opening times: https://oldham.foodbank.org.uk/