A food bank in East London has reported a massive rise in demand following the Coronavirus lockdown. Hedgecock Community Centre Food bank in Upney is a charity where people donate money and food to help those in poverty.
The food bank has seen demand quadruple as the number of people requesting food packs goes higher week by week.
At the time of writing there are more than 207,000 confirmed cases of Coronavirus in the UK, with 466 in Barking and Dagenham. With cases rising everyday this is expected to go up.
The food bank normally has a queue of people collecting their food packs but due to the Coronavirus and lockdown restrictions being placed by the Government from March 23rd, some volunteers from the food bank deliver food packs to the doors of the needy, keeping delivery contact free and a 2m restrictions to keep safe.
Local residents’ experience
Local resident, Audrey Smith (75) says: “With no supermarket delivery slots available to me at all and me being old and not being able to get out, I received very fast service from the food bank, who kindly delivered to me on the same day I called them”.
Volunteers in the community are working extremely hard to provide food for people in the local community of Barking and Dagenham. The main people seen to be calling up the food bank are people furloughed from work, the vulnerable and those self-isolating.
Where does money and stock for the food bank come from?
Food donations are sent to the food bank weekly and money is also given to the charity, Hedgecock Community Centre Food Bank. A few volunteers go out during the week, early in the morning mainly to supermarkets and wholesalers to get stock.
They also donate food to Barking Community Hospital, which is the local community hospital to help their needs.
A volunteer from the food bank said, “Due to this pandemic, it’s lovely to see everyone in the multicultural community get together in this time to help the needy”.
Food bank manager, Emdad Rahman says: “With more and more people losing their jobs, the role of the foodbank has become even more crucial especially during this time of the Coronavirus pandemic”
New research shows national rise of food hunger
New research shows more than three million people have reported going hungry in the first three weeks of the coronavirus lockdown.
The registered charity, The Food Foundation look at ensuring people can afford food and access a healthy diet. They conducted a survey on YouGov and published a report of their findings.
Due to the unprecedented economic shutdown, millions of people furloughed or on government support are facing difficulties and food poverty has risen. The Food Foundation report says: “1.5 million Britons reported not eating for a whole day because they have no money or access to food”. This is seen to be a massive problem as the longer the pandemic goes on for, the more people will fall into food poverty.
The food bank manager and volunteers talk about how they are supporting people in need during this pandemic.