food bank workers

Police officers using Croydon food bank during cost of living crisis

Police officers have joined the ranks of working people using food banks, according to a leading non-profit in south west London.

Working people who had been donors to food banks were now relying on them, said June Ross MBE, chief executive of Esther Community Enterprise Foodbank Services in Croydon.

Demand at food banks has skyrocketed as people have to choose between eating and keeping warm, particularly after the surge in the cost of living, especially gas, and the withdrawal of the £20 universal credit uplift in October.

Ross said: “If you’re the main breadwinner in the family then you have to cover for everyone else.

“I have little confidence in government measures to help the needy. It’s like getting blood out of a stone and it’s a very sad time we are all living in.”

She said that she had counselled several suicidal people who had come to her Croydon food bank.

Late in March a boy was rushed to hospital after fainting while waiting in line at Earlsfield Food Bank in Wandsworth.

Given the rise in demand, Ross said tough choices would have to be made prioritising vulnerable people such as the elderly and those with mental health conditions.

Sarah Chapman, advocacy and communications manager at Wandsworth Foodbank, said: “What more can people do?

“Families whose incomes are already stretched to the maximum are doing everything they can and need extra help from the government.

“The government has made some efforts to help people in work, but has sidestepped the issue that not everyone can work.”

High levels of rent in Wandsworth have added to the problems of people already struggling to pay their bills.

The ECE has helped people with food and emotional support for more than 17 years.

SWL approached the Police Federation for comment.

More information and resources can be found for Wandsworth Foodbank here and ECE Croydon here.

Featured image credit: Esther Community Enterprise via Facebook

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