Westminster Foodbank is experiencing a surge in demand as families struggle to cope with low incomes and rising food bills, according to the ‘West End Extra’;
“Westminster Chapel in Victoria has seen the number of people visiting its foodbank increase by 40 per cent since January and expects numbers to rise further when welfare reforms bite next month.
The chapel has just issued an appeal for help on Twitter and said they are in “urgent need” of donations.
It comes as the London Assembly released a report on food poverty this week which predicts the number of people who rely on foodbanks will continue to soar.
Miriam Etter, who organises the foodbank at Westminster Chapel, said:
“From February and March there have been more clients than previously, especially last week where we had 15. In January we had four to nine clients and in March, so far, we have had eight to 15. At the moment we are struggling a little with low stock and this means we have to go out and buy items to restock. Normally we mainly rely on donations from our church and the public.”
Ms Etter said: “The Jobcentre has recently become a voucher distributor so we have seen an increase in clients through them, which probably explains the rise in numbers in the previous two months. The three top reasons that were cited on our vouchers why a client was in crisis and needing food was benefit delays, low income and debt.”
It relies on the support of the community, as the majority of the food is donated by the public and sorted by volunteers. Food drives have also been run by schools and supermarkets in the area.
The foodbank at Westminster Chapel is one of 40 across London that are funded by the Trussell Trust who runs the largest chain of foodbanks in the country.
The organisation recently launched a £1million emergency “Help Crack UK Hunger” appeal ahead of the cap on benefits which they predict will lead to a surge of people flocking to foodbanks.
Chris Mould, executive chairman of the trust, said that the number of people aided by Trussell Trust is expected to soon exceed 300,000, adding: “April’s proposed welfare reforms will squeeze finances further”.
• For more information on Westminster foodbank, visit westminsterchapel.org.uk/foodbank. Get involved, email foodbank@ westminsterchapel.org.uk