Last month was our busiest November since we opened our doors in 2013.
We provided more than 1000 seven-day emergency food supplies to local people referred to us in severe hardship – 4 in 10 were for children. This was a 128% increase compared to November 2019.
We’re so grateful to everyone who’s continuing to donate food and cash to help others. Even though need continues to increase, your generosity means we’ve been able to help each person who needed support last month. Thank you.
But it’s not right that anyone in our borough is at risk of being pushed into destitution this winter – unable to afford to buy the food and essentials they need, and to pay their rent and bills.
Tomorrow, on Thursday 3 December, Wandsworth Council’s finance committee will meet to report on and vote on how they’re spending the £3.4million hardship funding they’ve received from the government to protect residents in need during Covid-19.
We know this money could make a huge difference to local residents facing hardship. Some of it already has. But we’ve been asking the Council to ensure all of this money reaches the pockets of local people in need – quickly – so they can buy the food and essentials they need this winter.
One part of this funding is a £836,000 government Covid Winter Grant, some of which will be used to provide supermarket vouchers for families with children who receive Free School Meals during the Christmas and February half-term holidays. We welcome this, and look forward to families receiving information on how and when they’ll receive this vital help as soon as possible.
We’re so glad to help everyone who needs us, but we know the best way to reduce the need for our food bank is to put money into the pockets of local people who’ve been hit hardest by the impact of Covid-19. Emergency food aid can’t replace the dignity and efficiency of being able to choose and buy the food you and your family need.
That’s why we believe that, used well, this £3.4million hardship funding could lead to a reduction in need for our food bank. That’s what we’d love to see this Christmas.
You can tune in and watch the Finance Committee online on Thursday 3 December at 7.30pm.