Wandsworth Foodbank welcomed Sadiq Khan, Member of Parliament for Tooting, to visit one of its local church-based distribution centres in St Paul’s Church, Furzedown, on Thursday 12 September.
Sadiq Khan MP spent time with Dan Frith, Wandsworth Foodbank Manager and Rev Sue Clarke, who leads the Foodbank centre at St Paul’s Church, as well as local volunteers.
Since it opened in May this year, Wandsworth Foodbank has provided emergency food and support to more than 750 people in crisis.
Each person who receives food and support will have been referred with a voucher by one of the 118 frontline care professionals currently registered as Voucher Partners with Wandsworth Foodbank. These include local schools, doctors, social workers, Citizens Advice Bureau and housing officers.
Open six days a week, its Foodbank distribution centres in Furzedown, Clapham Junction, Roehampton and north Battersea are staffed by volunteers from local churches and the community. All the food distributed has been donated by local schools, churches and by generous shoppers at regular Foodbank supermarket collections.
Sadiq Khan MP said,
“My visit to the Wandsworth Foodbank today was bittersweet. It was truly inspirational to see local people giving their time, donating food and money to help others in our community who have fallen on hard times. But it was also incredibly sad. We live in one of the richest boroughs in London, in one of the richest cities in the world and yet there are still hundreds of people in Wandsworth, many of whom are children, who can’t afford to eat.
“St Paul’s Church and all the volunteers who run the Foodbank in Furzedown are doing a great job. On my visit I saw how welcoming they were and how they helped people to get the supplies they need with dignity and support.”
Rev Clarke said, “In our local church communities, we meet those who are struggling to cope, often through no fault of their own. Wandsworth Foodbank provides us with a means of showing that we care and gives us a practical way of working together. We collect and distribute food and, as importantly, offer a listening ear and a non-judgmental environment for people to come and have their stories heard.”
Dan Frith, Wandsworth Foodbank Manager, says,
“Across the Borough we’re seeing many people struggling to put food on the table. Nearly half of our guests have come because of changes or delays to benefit payments, including sanctions and the impact of the bedroom tax. Low income and debt are the next major causes of people needing our help, and we’re seeing working families whose food budget is squeezed by low wages and rising costs.
“We’ve been amazed and inspired by the generosity of local people who want to help some of the most vulnerable in our community. To date people have donated 11 tonnes of food – including nearly 2 tonnes last weekend at Sainsbury’s in Balham – and more than 200 volunteers have given 1700 hours to help. There’s a real understanding that times are hard for many around us, and a real desire to help.”