EALING FOODBANK REACHES SAD MILESTONE
This month Ealing Foodbank has reached an important but sad milestone. Since opening in autumn 2013, only eight years ago, the volunteer service has now served 100,000 Clients, a total that no-one could have foreseen when the charity was established.
“When a group of Ealing churches agreed to establish the Foodbank, it was a common assumption that while it was required due to the effects of austerity, the mere idea of a Foodbank having an extended life and becoming ‘part of the furniture’ was never envisaged. It still beggars belief that in this Borough, in this city, in this country at this time there should be so many people in poverty and demand for our food support services so high” stated Janet Fletcher, Foodbank Manager.
But the continuing effects of first austerity, then the introduction of the Universal Credit benefit system, with its associated issues, followed by the enduring effects of the first year of the pandemic have strongly driven demand from local people who are in hardship and unable to afford food.
“From April 2020 to March 2021 we supplied over 38,000 Clients with three-day food packages to help their plight during lockdowns and furlough. Since April this year demand has fallen slightly compared to last year, but we are still running at double the levels of demand we saw pre-pandemic” said Janet.
She added “The Foodbank is only effective in helping local people in food crisis through the generosity of our donors, both of food and financially: from individuals to businesses, from church and social groups to Ealing Council, our partner supermarkets and referral partners. Then there are our fantastic, dedicated volunteers, who have always been there and lately learned to deal with whole new safe operating systems during the pandemic. We should be, and are, very grateful to all of them.”
As the pandemic restrictions have eased, Ealing Foodbank has reopened its Client Centres in Acton, Greenford, Northolt, Perivale and Southall which has eased pressure on the main centre and warehouse in Hanwell.
Opening times and other information on how to contact and access the Foodbank can be found at ealing.foodbank.org.uk/Get Help , and information on how and where to make donations at ealing.foodbank.org.uk/give-help/
Looking forward Janet is positive about the future. “Though circumstances look grim at the moment, there is a growing movement amongst society regarding poverty and inequality, which one has to hope will lead to changes in government attitudes and policy, which is the only way this country can eradicate poverty on the scale at which it now exists. Until then the Foodbank will be there to support local people in crisis.”