Food banks are handing out more parcels than ever before as Britons battle food poverty in ever-increasing numbers - and Christmas will be no exception.
Between April and September 2016, Trussell Trust food banks across the UK distributed 519,342 three-day emergency food supplies to people in crisis compared to 506,369 during the same period last year.
More than 188,500 of these parcels were to children, the charity said.
There are a range of reasons why people may need help from a food bank. The Trussell Trust, which runs 428 services around the country, says that benefit delays and changes account for the highest proportion of their referrals at 44%.
Low income was the second largest cause of a crisis, accounting for nearly one in four of all referrals to their food banks, driven by problems such as low pay, insecure work or rising costs.
The winter months, and particularly Christmas, can be a particularly difficult time for those struggling to pay for food for themselves and their families.
The Trussell Trust explains: “Christmas can be a difficult time for individuals and families who are already managing on extremely tight budgets.
“The increased winter fuel bills, and the pressure of choosing between heating and eating, will sadly push many families into food crisis.”
If you want to use the festive period to help out a food bank, here are some things you can do...
Donate moneyTony Hutchings via Getty Images
Donate foodASSOCIATED PRESS
Volunteer at a food bankASSOCIATED PRESS
Rethink your presentsJupiterimages via Getty Images
Give other itemsASSOCIATED PRESS
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