Hammersmith & Fulham Foodbank (HFFB) helped more than 400 people affected by benefit cuts over Christmas.
In total, food parcels containing contents for 4,330 meals were handed out between Saturday 16 December and Friday 22 December brightening the Christmas of 433 local residents.
As well as the essentials, packages contained presents, mince pies, puddings and other seasonal treats.
“The Universal Credit roll-out has forced people to ask for help in putting food on the table,” said Cllr Sue Fennimore, Deputy Leader at Hammersmith & Fulham Council. “But this is not just the reality for people at Christmas – sadly it’s every day of the year.”
Lunch is served
Last month, the HFFB and Christchurch Fulham invited 50 local residents to enjoy a slap-up traditional Christmas lunch. Earlier in December, they brought a smile to 35 children and their families at a party held at St Paul’s Hammersmith, funded by HA Marks Construction Limited with support from Kings Mall in Hammersmith.
“Support from the local community and businesses has helped ensure that we have made this Christmas a happier holiday period,” said Daphine Aikens, CEO of the Hammersmith & Fulham Foodbank. “Support throughout the year is vital to our mission ensuring that no one goes to bed hungry in Hammersmith & Fulham.”
Since April last year, HFFB has distributed food to over 7,000 people – this is almost double the number they helped over the same period in 2016.
“The rise has mainly been fuelled by government changes to benefits, among other pressures. Vulnerable people are being let down by a broken welfare system that should be there to help them when they need it the most,” Cllr Sue Fennimore added.
“I would like to thank our residents and businesses for the generous support that they have shown HFFB and ask them to please continue to help those struggling this winter.”
Sanctions from the Universal Credit roll-out will cause a fresh wave of misery this year, as Government figures (pdf) reveal that the numbers hit by deductions is 20 times higher than for other benefits.
Department for Work and Pensions statistics show the number with a Universal Credit deduction reached 6.9 per cent in March last year. For Employment and Support Allowance and Jobseeker’s Allowance, the deduction rate was 0.3 per cent and 0.4 per cent.
How to help
The Hammersmith & Fulham Foodbank – which is part-funded by H&F Council – is most in need of:
- tinned fruit and vegetables
- long life juice
- powdered and UHT milk
- tinned rice pudding and other desserts
- tinned meat
- pasta sauce in jars
You can find your closest donation point at H&F Foodbank’s website.
The foodbank cannot accept any fresh produce. The foodbank has three sites across the borough and provides other vital services, including two Citizen Advice Bureau advisers who are funded by H&F Council.