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Lewisham responds to rising food poverty

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20 November 2013
Food Bank Earlier this year I wrote an article in the South London Press about food poverty in the UK and the rise in the number of local food banks.

Rising costs of food and fuel, static incomes, unemployment and changes to benefits mean that the number of people accessing food banks continues to increase. Over 350,000 people received emergency food from the Trussell Trust between April and September 2013 (triple the number of people helped in the same period last year) and the Trust estimate that 13 million people are living below the poverty line in the UK. I am deeply concerned that this winter’s energy price increases are likely to push even more people into food poverty, as they are forced to choose between heating and eating.

Clearly food banks shouldn’t be necessary in the 21st century, but I do find the response from the community inspiring. Last month I was humbled to attend the opening of the Elim Pentecostal Church’s food bank. More recently Councillor Janet Daby of Whitefoot ward has set up a new food bank, with the help of local faith leaders, which is based at the Whitefoot Lane Christian Centre on Whitefoot Lane. As well as providing emergency food parcels to people in need, local volunteers at the centre are also on hand to provide advice on various issues including health, housing, employment, training or debt. 

In order to help as many local people as possible, the project needs volunteers and donations of fresh and non-perishable food. If you can help in any way, please email or call 020 8698 7945. Further details, including food donation drop off points, can be found on the project’s leaflet here.

Anyone can find themselves in the situation where they are pushed into food poverty. If you do require help, details of local food banks can be found below:

Lewisham Food Bank (supported by the Trussell Trust) The Tabernacle, Algernon Road, SE13 7AT (Wednesdays 10am–12 noon, Fridays 2–4pm)

Elim Pentecostal Church Food Bank, 8-10 Allerford Road, Catford, SE6 2XL (contact 020 8698 6687)

Whitefoot and Downham Community Food and Project, Whitefoot Christian Centre, 480 Whitefoot Lane, Downham, BR1 5SF (open 7pm-8.30pm every Thursday)

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