Emmerdale,  Social issues

Where are the hungry families in the soaps?


I think that the UK’s three biggest soaps are great at covering current social issues. Most things are tackled head on and it seems that nothing is feared or avoided when it comes to tackling issues that real people are facing.

However, I’d like to know where the hungry families are, because they’re out there. The pandemic has seen a huge increase in the number of families having to access food banks. This is often due to a loss of income. But we haven’t really seen this explored on screen.

The reality

The food banks within the Trussell Trust’s UK network also saw a shocking 47% increase in need during the first six months of the coronavirus crisis. This has built on record need experienced during the same period last year.

The Trussell Trust also revealed that 2,600 food parcels were provided for children every day within that six-month period. An emergency food parcel is typically is a three-day parcel containing emergency food for one person. However, during the Covid-19 crisis, food banks have also been distributing seven-day parcels. 

Emma Revie, Chief Executive at the Trussell Trust, says:  ”Throughout 2020, communities across the country have stepped in to provide vital support to people left without enough money. Volunteers in food banks have been working hard under extremely difficult circumstances to make sure support is there for people struggling to afford essentials. But it’s not right that any of us are forced to a charity for food, at any time of year.”

Food poverty and the soaps

Given the scale of food poverty within the UK, I am surprised that we have not see the three big soaps covering this issue.

In Emmerdale, we have seen Dan and Amelia struggling to buy food. However, this was due to Dan having an accident. The issue wasn’t related to the pandemic.

As the months roll on, I’d like to see the issue of food poverty explored further. It would be good to see how the families in soap land come up with fast cash so they can afford to feed their children. Sadly the pandemic has exasperated this issue within the UK and the soap operas are there to reflect peoples’ reality.


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