The Hammersmith & Fulham Foodbank is officially London’s busiest foodbank. And they urgently need your help to meet the increasing demand from local people in need.
Over the last two years, the number of families fed by the Foodbank has more than doubled, and supplies of essential items are running low. Data from The Trussell Trust shows that the H&F Foodbank saw the highest number of clients in the capital from April-September 2018.
“We need to help every client who comes to us,” said Daphine Aikens, CEO of H&F Foodbank. “Nobody chooses to be reliant on food and other supplies from us, yet with the cold weather setting in, more people are being faced with the stark choice between heating and eating.”
The most significant reason given by users of the Foodbank is the chaotic roll-out of Universal Credit. The new benefits system often leaves recipients less well-off – some with as much as £200 less per month.
New claimants are often plunged into debt, including rent arrears, as they wait weeks for their first payment. Existing claimants are nine times more likely to be sanctioned than those on the benefits they are replacing, resulting in a cut to their monthly payment.
In the worst cases, some have been evicted and made homeless, or taken out loans they cannot afford to repay, further piling on the debt. For people awaiting their first payment, with no other source of income, or for families whose income has been cut, the Foodbank has become a lifeline.
“In recent months we have seen a dramatic increase in numbers of people benefiting from our food parcels,” Daphine added. “More than 5,100 families have sought our help in the last six months – 500 more than in the same period last year.”
The Foodbank also helps clients through the provision of advice services, including two Citizen Advice Bureau advisers who are funded by H&F Council.
How you can help
Cllr Sue Fennimore, Deputy Leader at H&F Council, is urging residents to add a few extra essentials to their shopping lists. “There is no coincidence that the Foodbank is now the busiest in London since the roll out of Universal Credit in the borough,” she said.
“We’re working with the H&F Foodbank to make sure everyone can have a proper meal but they are in desperate need of supplies and support.”
The foodbank is running short of supplies and is most in need of:
- Tinned fruit and vegetables
- Long life juice
- UHT milk
- Tinned meat
- Tinned fish
- Coffee (small jars)
- Spreads (such as peanut butter or jam)
- Toilet roll.
You can find your closest donation point on H&F Foodbank’s website.
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