A London foodbank say demand for their services has almost tripled as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The North Enfield Foodbank, run by Jubilee Church London, provided 13,338 meals to the community during March and April 2019. This year, they have given out more than 35,800 during the same two months.
Foodbank manager Kerry Coe, 32, who has run the organisation for eight years, said the increase is largely due to the ‘uncertainty’ of the coronavirus crisis. She told Metro.co.uk they are now supporting more families than ‘ever before’. She said: ‘Lots of people are not working or without full income, which is really putting pressure on them. Some families do not have any income at all. We are seeing more families come through than ever before.
‘I think children not being in school and being at home is adding another element to food provision needs. There is also the immediate nature of how this all unfolded, it was sudden. ‘There are also more older people than we would normally see. The age range is really wide.’
Nearly 2,000,000 people have applied for Universal Credit since March 16, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) recently confirmed. There have also been 250,000 claims for Jobseeker’s Allowance, while around 6,000,000 people have been furloughed. The foodbank gives out nine meals at a time in emergency parcels, which are intended to make up breakfast, lunch and dinner for three days. In March and April this year, 3,980 people received the packages.
The bundles also include toiletries and other essential household items, such as baby care products. The food bank mostly relies on donations from organisations and the public, with around 32.7 tonnes of food received over two months. Volunteers are now operating six days a week to restock food and prepare pre-packed parcels so clients don’t need to step inside the centre.
The team also offer a delivery service so less people need to leave their homes to pick up supplies. Everything is socially distanced outside the premises, and members of staff have access to personal protective equipment (PPE), Ms Coe said. As well as the increasing demand, the foodbank has also seen a rise in volunteers. Ms Coe said: ‘It is really amazing to do what we do and we’re eternally grateful for people who donate food or time to support the foodbank.
‘When it’s become difficult for a lot of people, we’ve really seen people rise up, which has been wonderful. To actually be able to make a difference is really meaningful for a lot of volunteers. ‘Many of them coming in are perhaps furloughed as well and have extra time on their hands, so it’s nice that we can all be supporting each other together. That’s been the best bit.’
Read more: https://metro.co.uk