Benefit delays, low income and domestic violence fuel numbers relying on Wimbledon food bank

Wimbledon Food Bank is being used by almost 1500 people in need, new figures revealed this week.

Nearly 500 of those who received emergency food supplies from the service, held at Elim Pentecostal Church, High Path, were children.

The figures, which reflect a five-month period between April and September this year, revealed that the major causes for using food banks were benefit delays and low income.

Other factors included underemployment, domestic violence and rising fuel and food prices.

Project co-ordinator for Merton, Corinne, said: “The scary prospect is that it can affect anyone and everyone.”

The food bank, which is part of the Trussell Trust and is staffed largely by volunteers, works with churches to provide three-day emergency food packets to those in need.

The packets are donated by the public and consist of non-perishables such as tinned meat and fish, pasta and soup.

Collections from schools and supermarkets such as Tesco Extra in New Malden also provide the food bank with vital supplies.

Stephen Hammond, Conservative MP for Wimbledon, praised the volunteers for their service to the community.

He said: “The food bank provides an invaluable service and I am very grateful for all the hard work the volunteers there put in.”

He added: “We would like to see there be no need for food banks but, given that there is, small donations are invaluable.”

With the number of people living in poverty in the UK rising, figures show that the use of food banks is up 38% from the same period last year.

In London alone, 46,790 people in crisis were provided with emergency food in this period.

Councillor Stephen Alambritis, Leader of Merton Council, said: “These are tough times for a lot of people and it is wonderful to see the extent of residents’ kindness as many donate non-perishable foods so that families in need can have a little extra to see them through Christmas.

“Food banks are invaluable to a lot of people all year round of course, providing those who are finding it difficult to make ends meet, with goods that many of us take for granted.”

Corinne is calling for more volunteers to get involved, particularly on Wednesdays, as foodbanks have expanded within the borough of Merton.

She said: “If anyone does have two hours each week, or even biweekly, to come along and help either meet and greet the customers or work behind the scenes sorting and dating the food, it would be really appreciated.”

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