Life
woman smiling with food bank donation

More than food: How Brixton Foodbank saved one woman’s life

A woman’s life was transformed by Norwood & Brixton Foodbank, whose support goes far beyond food supplies.

Dorisilla Adolwa spent many nights in 2019 on the streets of Victoria or in an abandoned car with her son, hungry and scared.

Unable to practice as a midwife, she took small cleaning jobs but couldn’t make ends meet while her husband was out of the country.

She was placed in a homeless hostel and became severely depressed sharing a room with a hundred others, many of whom were drug users.

“I could be dead by now,” said Dorisilla, 59, who helped other residents, once washing one woman who had been beaten.

That was before she began receiving help from the Norwood & Brixton Foodbank in 2019, where she was sent by the council.

“We were hungry, we didn’t have anything, but I’ve always done things for myself. I was proud,” she admitted.

The support from the food bank was far more than material; for Dorisilla, it was invaluable to have someone to talk to.

A FAMILY: Jon Taylor (above) believes the food bank gives much more than food (image from Brixton & Norwood foodbank)

Jon Taylor, Norwood and Brixton distribution point manager, emphasised the foodbank’s holistic approach which includes support with housing and benefits applications.

He was particularly struck by Dorisilla’s story.

“They are so grateful, so lovely and I just wanted to do a bit more,” he said, especially after realising that although they had found accommodation it would be unfurnished when they moved in.

“I just couldn’t stand by and let that happen.”

He organised furniture donations, a ‘paint party’, and connected them with a church.

“We have found not just a community, but a family,” smiled Dorisilla, who now wants to give back.

“If we didn’t go to the foodbank, we wouldn’t be where we are right now. We just want to thank them because they’ve made us so, so happy”.

Jon is not unique in his compassion with the majority of volunteers going the extra mile.

One supporter gathered Easter eggs to include in parcels over the bank holiday weekend.

Their hard work allowed them to give out more than 30,000 parcels over the past year, with more to come after a lockdown-related spike in demand.

But for Jon, it is about the individuals.

He explained: “You know you’re really making a difference, one person at a time.”

To donate, text ‘dinner 5’ to 70085 or click here.

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