SDLP Health Spokesperson Mark H Durkan has expressed his concern, anger and frustration following the publication of a report into Foodbank use by the Trussell Trust.
Mr Durkan hit out at the DUP and Sinn Féin for supporting the flawed welfare cuts that will inflict further hardship.
The Foyle MLA said now both parties needed to do the right thing instead of abdicating their responsibility.
Mr Durkan said: “The figures published today by the Trussell Trust show that tens of thousands of food parcels are being supplied to people in crisis here in Northern Ireland.
“This is a damning indictment of the failure to restore Government here to protect people from the brutal Universal Credit regime. The DUP and Sinn Féin must shoulder the blame – as it’s as simple as this: no Government, no power, no change.
“The Trussell Trust report states that unless changes are made to our welfare system, the situation will get worse with the roll out of Universal Credit.
“Disgracefully the DUP and Sinn Féin colluded together to bring in the welfare cuts and supported the flawed Universal Credit system that is set to inflict further hardship.
“Now, however they have the chance to do the right thing – get back to Government instead of abdicating their responsibilities.
“People in our communities who we are supposed to be lifting out of poverty, out of hardship, out of struggle are having to rely on charity to support them and their families because the DUP and Sinn Féin failed in government – and now are failing to form a government.
“Enough is enough. People cannot be left desperate, destitute and in despair. If there was ever a number to show the need to return to government, it’s that over 13,000 parcels of food had to go to feed children.
“The DUP and Sinn Féin must now urgently move to settle their differences to protect these children from further hardship.
“Unless a government is restored here and we reclaim our devolved powers to bring in mitigation and protections for these families – people, including children will continue to struggle in food poverty.
“I call on the DUP and Sinn Féin to now act so that the Assembly can intervene to end the cycle of destitution and despair our people are facing,” he added.