Epping Forest Foodbank provided 554 three day emergency food supplies to local people between 1st April and 30th September this year. Of this number, 265 went to children.
The foodbank, a member of The Trussell Trust’s network which reported last week a UK-wide increase foodbank use, is concerned its help will be even more needed in the next six months of the year, as the colder weather draws in.
The figures for Epping Forest Foodbank have increased by almost 40% on the same period last year. The charity believes the local increase is due to people struggling with low income, benefit delays, benefit changes and debt.
Epping Forest Foodbank shares the concerns of other foodbanks in The Trussell Trust’s network about the Government’s new benefits system, Universal Credit which is planned to roll out in Loughton Job Centre on the 5th December 2018.
Heather Scholer, Foodbank Manager of Epping Forest Foodbank said:
“The 40% increase in emergency food provided from the same period last year shows that more people are struggling to make ends meet. We are now approaching what is always our busiest time of year when we often find more people needing our help, and this year Universal Credit is planned to rolled out. We can only brace ourselves for the impact in the coming winter months.
“It’s not right that anyone in the Epping Forest area has no other option but to turn to our foodbank. We want to see an end to local people needing emergency food, having a benefits system that catches people before they fall into crisis. We partner with 100 agencies some of whom are able to help support people back into securing work so that they have enough money to cover the costs of essentials. We want everyone to know that this service is provided in Epping Forest for short term help when faced with crisis but there needs to be some long-term change because we don’t want to be here forever.”
The foodbank is particularly in need of toilet tolls, coffee and sponge pudding. The charity has launched their Christmas appeal asking for festive donations to be donated by the 7th December at the latest, to ensure volunteers have enough time to process and distribute these donations to people before Christmas. More details can be found at: https://eppingforest.foodbank.org.uk/2018/10/31/christmas-appeal/
The running costs for the foodbank are around £35,000 a year, all of which is raised locally to enable them to continue their work. Costs include warehouse space, to sort and stock donated food, costs to deliver donated food to distribution centres, and other overheads like utilities and insurances. The foodbank welcomes any new offers of help with funding – local businesses, organisations and individuals interested in supporting the foodbank’s work can find out more at: https://eppingforest.foodbank.org.uk/give-help/donate-money/.