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hands reaching towards food in a food bank

Kingston Foodbank urges locals to think before they buy this winter

Kingston Foodbank is urging residents to think before they buy during their shopping trips as winter months approach.

Ian Jacobs, director of Kingston Foodbank, noted that although the food bank prepares for the winter ahead, the extent of the demand can never be predicted. 

Solely funded by private donations and a small number of grants, many food banks are at the mercy of the public’s generosity throughout the year.

Jacobs said: “We don’t want to live in a space where we are in fear of what might happen – we just try to face what is happening.

“If there is a shortage coming, then we will work with that and change our offering, but we won’t stop offering food to those in need.

A Universal Credit boost was introduced in April 2020 to support low income families during COVID-19.

However as of 6 October, the temporary increase was withdrawn.

Jacobs added: “We are lucky that the local residents are very generous with their donations but we are expecting the demand to increase following the £20 Universal Credit cut.”

Following the announcement, the food bank, which is part of the Trussell Trust, is already noticing a rise in residents walking in and enquiring how they can secure vouchers.

woman being handed bags in a food bank
HIGH DEMAND: Kingston Foodbank expects demand to increase this winter

Public figures such as Marcus Rashford MBE have spoken about the necessity to feed school children from underprivileged families.

In an interview with Sky News, Rashford said: “Whilst we’ve come a long way in the past 20 months, placing the issue of child food poverty at the forefront, devastatingly, the issue is getting worse not better.”

Following the call to action by figures such as Rashford, Jacobs noted that although more people are aware of the food bank, he hadn’t seen much change from the government.

He expressed that any national government changes would be discussed with the Trussell trust rather than individual food banks.

The council on the other hand have supported and and worked closely with the food bank on government schemes such as the Strategic Food Poverty committee.

Jacobs added: “People need to keep an eye on what they buy and why they buy it. If they can support their local food bank with odd bits, that would be great.”

Kingston Foodbank currently has around 65 volunteers throughout their centres, warehouses and packing facilities.

Whilst the food bank is not actively looking for volunteers, it isn’t turning away any help.

The Trussell Trust, founded in 1997, is a national organisation that works to support food banks.

It supports roughly two thirds of the food banks in the UK.

Initially working to house children in need in Bulgaria, the trust set up its first food bank in Salisbury at the turn of the century.

Now with a rising number of people in the UK falling below the poverty line (currently around 14 million), its mission to provide three days’ nutritionally-balanced emergency food to those in need becomes more difficult.

To find out more about the Trussell Trust, click here.

You can donate to Kingston Foodbank here.

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