An SE1-based foodbank that has seen a sharp rise in demand since the COVID-19 crisis began has launched a crowdfund appeal to ensure it can keep on feeding the most needy people in our part of London.
"The Waterloo Foodbank provides emergency food supplies and support for local people who are experiencing a crisis," explains manager Rebekah Gibson.
"That might be delays in their benefits or loss of a job or an illness that means that they can no longer afford to buy food for themselves or their families.
"And so we support by working with referral partners to make sure people can access emergency food that they need."
Unsurprisingly the COVID-19 emergency has seen a big rise in demand for the foodbank's services: "In the last few months, we've been giving food to around 350 people per month. However we gave food to 300 people just last week alone."
"We're seeing a real increase in need. We have been over the last couple of years anyway but that sharply increased last week."
The foodbank has had to respond to this extra pressure with a diminished band of helpers: "We have some volunteers who are in isolation and currently are unable to come in and lots of our volunteer pool are over 70 or in another vulnerable group," explains Rebekah.
"We've been having to adapt with the volunteers that we've got available. We've obviously been having to adapt our model.
"Normally, we put a lot of value on trying to give people dignity and to give them extra support, a cup of tea and a listening ear, but we've had to change to just giving people the emergency food at the door and just trying to keep safe distances between people."
Rebekah explains how local people can help the foodbank at this time: "We have launched a fundraising campaign through Crowdfunder, which Lambeth Council have very kindly said they will match fund up to £5,000. So we'd encourage people if they are in a position where they can to donate towards that that would really help us.
"And we're very fortunate that we've been inundated with volunteer requests from the local community, but we will be needing volunteers in the coming weeks so people can get in touch with us and we will chat with them and add them to our list of potential volunteers."
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