People have taken to Twitter to implore people to donate to food banks, in response to a Mail On Sunday article that claimed they don't ask their users to prove they need free food and "scroungers" take advantage of them.
Earlier this week, it was revealed that more one million British people have been using food banks for free food parcels, in what charity The Trussell Trust called a "shocking" increase in the last 12 months as rising living costs and low pay took their toll.
But the Sunday tabloid ran an article on food banks with the headline "No ID, no checks... and vouchers for sob stories: The truth behind those shock food bank claims".
The paper said its findings undermined the charity's claims about the scale of the welfare issue.
The article said the food banks were beset by "scroungers" who ignored the limit on how many food parcels they could receive, while some people were given them without submitting to any checks of their claims of being unable to afford it.
But Twitter was awash with people saying this did not discredit the mission of food banks and angry an undercover reporter had claimed free food as part of the story.
One tweeter said: "No, no Daily Mail. The scandal isn’t that food bank volunteers didn’t check your cretins ID. The scandal is that food banks exist at all."
No, no Daily Mail. The scandal isn’t that food bank volunteers didn’t check your cretins ID. The scandal is that food banks exist at all.— Kenny (@KennyDownSouth) April 20, 2014
That Mail food bank story is just weird. Shocking revelation that food banks are exactly what they’re supposed to be.— Tom Phillips (@flashboy) April 20, 2014
The Mail On Sunday article prompted people to appeal for others to donate to food banks and their providers, including charity The Trussell Trust.
The article followed an apparent rift within the government over food banks. Prime Minister David Cameron recently praised the provision of food banks at a Downing Street event for Christian organisations. But someone within the Department For Work and Pensions said the Trussell Trust "was misleading and emotionally manipulative publicity-seeking", The Guardian reported.
Trust chairman Chris Mould told the paper this was "deeply disappointing and inconsistent with the message that we and many other charities took from the prime minister's Easter reception for the Christian faith".
If, unlike the Daily Mail, you want to help food banks you can donate to the Larder in Mersey Street or The Dundonald Food Bank.— Stephen Donnan (@SteveDonnan) April 20, 2014
One Mail On Sunday reporter, who was pictured with food he had obtained from a Nottingham food bank "no questions asked" while posing as someone in need of it, was criticised specifically.
One Tweeter noted the text of this part of the article said a food bank volunteer had asked the reporter "a series of questions" about why he needed the food, which contradicted the headline's claim no questions were asked.
Some tweeters said the reporter had tweeted about the story and had included his contact information in his tweets. One user posted an image of themselves sending the number a one-word number - "c*nt".
But when The Huffington Post UK found his Twitter account there was only one tweet, sent on Sunday morning after the story appeared, and no contact information. The tweet said he had returned all the food to the church that had given it and had also given them "a small donation".
All food returned to saint Philip church Notts at 0930 plus small donation— Ross Slater (@rossslateruk) April 20, 2014
Meanwhile, one person spent part of their Easter Sunday imagining how Jesus' deeds would have been received by the tabloid.
The Mail on Sunday, circa 28 AD. pic.twitter.com/TcMcImKuTe— Jamie DMJ (@JamieDMJ) April 20, 2014