A record number of food parcels were delivered across the UK in one year.

The Trussell Trust said more than 3.1 million emergency parcels were distributed by its network of 1,300 food banks, a figure double of what was seen five years ago.

In Westmorland and Furness, new figures showed that 7,667 were delivered in the region, though this represented a slight decrease of 47 compared to the year previous.

The high demand seen nationwide is a story that resonates with the food bank in Barrow, which has been battling increased need with depleted stocks.

In a recent appeal, the team said: “Due to high levels of demand locally our stock levels are running very low at the moment.

"Any donations of items would be much appreciated, we need all items as quickly as we can get them."

Following the 'kindness' and support shown by people in the community, the foodbank received an 'amazing response', yet this was still not enough to completely recover their resources.

Across the UK, over 1.1 million children were the beneficiaries of food parcels, with 2,618 of them living in Westmorland and Furness.

A parcel typically provides food for either three or seven days, with The Trussell Trust wanting to see change before a reliance on these packages become the 'norm'.

CEO of the charity Emma Revie said: "It’s 2024 and we’re facing historically high levels of food bank need. As a society, we cannot allow this to continue.

"Voters want to see a change and we need cross-government action at all levels to deliver it."

While the number of first-time users nationwide this year - 655,000 - is a slight drop, it is still a rise of 40% compared with five years ago.

The Charities Aid Foundation said people donated £973 million to food banks in 2023, up from £635 million during the previous year.

Whilst a decrease in food parcel delivery might have been seen in Westmorland and Furness, figures in the northwest as a whole are on the up.

Between April 2022 and March 2023, 348,727 were handed out; the following 12 months witnessed a total of 355,830.

Iain Porter, senior policy adviser at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, which works to help people escape poverty, said: "This is not what an economy returning to full health looks like. The latest record-breaking emergency food parcel figures show the painful economic reality facing families with the least."

Mr Porter urged the Government to introduce an "essentials guarantee" to ensure "everyone has a protected minimum amount of support to afford the essentials".

He said no political party can ignore the issue this election year.

The Government said its cost-of-living support package had prevented 1.3 million people from falling into poverty in 2022-23.

It reiterated it had uprated benefits, raised the state pension and was "raising the National Living Wage, cutting taxes and driving down inflation while investing billions through our Back to Work Plan".