Food bank crisis: “The demand is now outstripping supply”

The cost-of-living crisis has taken its toll on Canterbury charities helping those most in need as they are having to spend more cash than ever to meet rising food bills[1]. Catching Lives and Canterbury Food Bank are both seeing an increased demand on their services.

Canterbury Food Bank relied solely on donations four years ago, but this year has budgeted nearly £100,000 to buy emergency food parcels. This has helped people in the Canterbury[2], Whitstable and Herne Bay district.

Canterbury Food Bank trustee David Holt said: “Just four years ago we bought no food at all. We now buy in more food than we receive in donations at supermarkets and elsewhere.

“The cost of living crisis[4] has affected us in three ways: firstly, it has led to a huge surge in the number of clients; secondly, it has led to fewer donations in supermarkets and thirdly it has meant we have had to buy in more food to tackle that shortfall.

“It is not the case that donations in our supermarket baskets have slumped - people are still very generous - it is more the case that demand is now outstripping supply.”

David Holt David Holt

Canterbury Food Bank distributed enough food to make 114,390 meals in the past 12 months. It fed 7,020 adults and 5,690 children and its volunteers worked 17,598 unpaid hours. David added: “It takes a moment in someone’s life - a single bill, a small event like a child losing a coat at school, or a minor accident - to bring people to the food bank.

“But the cost of living crisis has turned what was once a steady stream into a raging river of poverty. We do not see that relenting in the immediate future.”

Meanwhile Catching Lives, a day centre supporting people who are sleeping rough, hidden homeless and insecurely housed in Canterbury & East Kent, has seen its average monthly food bill increase by 36% year on year from £880 a month to £1,200.

The centre, which provides clients with two meals a day seven days a week, is also having to buy in supplies that used to come in as donations.

Volunteers and staff members at Canterbury Food Bank Volunteers and staff members at Canterbury Food Bank

Chief executive Tasmin Maitland said: “We regularly find ourselves running low or out of key items, such as sugar, handwash, coffee and biscuits that in the past have always come through donations without needing a specific appeal.

“We're seeing increasing numbers and a higher proportion of people who have accommodation but can't afford rent, bills, food, transport, so the need for our service is higher both in practical terms such as food costs and the level of support required to help keep people in their accommodation.

“In the past we would usually see people requesting food parcels due to specific reasons such as unexpected bills, loss of employment, illness but now more often than not the reason people give when they request one is simply that they cannot afford to buy food as well as pay rent/energy bills etc due to the cost of living crisis.

“It's devastating to see people forced to choose between paying the bills or putting food on the table. We are so grateful for support and need it now more than ever to keep our essential services running through the cost of living crisis.”

If you want to donate to Catching Lives, financially or otherwise please visit the website or social media. Donations can be dropped off at the day centre in Station Road East, Canterbury between 9am and 4pm every day. For further information[5]

More information about Canterbury Food Bank can be found via the charity’s website:[6]


  1. ^ rising food bills (
  2. ^ Canterbury (
  3. ^ One-month warning as £130million in energy support payments yet to be claimed (
  4. ^ cost of living crisis (
  5. ^ (
  6. ^ (