We had found a huge rush and increase in demand from pensioners as the high fuel bills and the increasing demands on the income of the elderly poor was at such a level, many would have starved.
In order to reach out to more of the elderly, we have linked up with DAGE the wonderful pensioners group in Deptford, this takes some of the pressure of the New Cross office that is presently running 6 days a week and will see a further 50 plus pensioner households get food from here, whilst the pick up and donation points remain the same.
We have seen an amazing show of love for cats, this is the largest area of food donation, in fact we get more food given for cats, than humans or dogs. and we constantly run out of dog food, so clearly this is something we need .
We do not give out processed food, so have not in error given out any horsemeat, whilst the range of people we help from all over Lewisham is truly representative.
We have a great team of helpers and Fareshare in Deptford where the food is sorted is also in need of extra help, just drop me a line and i will link you up.
Big issue this month has been communication, when people are having a hard time, it is easy to take out that anger and bitterness on the girls at the food bank, and as we have increased the numbers of people we help, so has the levels of abuse at the girls, this is not exceptable and should not happen, some of these people should no better, and many of our clients are from professional backgrounds so should understand better how to communicate.
This month we still see far to many people walk miles to get food, some walk and then have just the amount of money they have to get home by bus with the food, the cold weather lead to many people with fuel cards just running out of money and we had to top up many peoples fuel cards, whilst it is alarming to meet increasing numbers who due to fear of a high bill are not even using electric or heating, and living like the dark ages, by candle light, this poses a very real risk to their neighbours, but that is the level people are living at present with many people telling us that without the food bank and the advice and support we give, would see no point in going on.
When we started the food bank, we never realized the scale of the problems and the huge number of people that are failed by the system and are missed by specialst groups whose brief is to cater for the homeless, The Elderly, the Disabled, but if you fall outside these groups, you only have us at the food bank to help.
Going forward we are already distributeing food across Lewisham not just in Deptford once We are always in need of Food, and Toiletries and to the many who drop items in every month, to our wonderful team of helpers a huge thank you.
New Cross Site will be expanding in May, we are moving into cloths and furniture and advice and support for local residents. We will also offer a charity shop to raise the money we need to pay rent and business rates. You could become a friend of the project and pay £10 per month to help our work.
We would also welcome your Furniture, clean cloths , Food and Health products such as soap, loo rolls, toothpaste. Presently the Food Bank is run by People Before Profit members and suppporters and has to buy most of the food, as donations made are very small when you are feeding almost 500 per week, as well as Cats and Dogs.
Housemartins Estate Agents, Kindly pays the wages of two helpers plus extra food and also gives us money to help out with emergency payments when disabled people,pensioners and families with small children have no money for fuel or food.
You do not have to be a member or supporter of People before Profit to help or to get food and support.
You can Follow Ray on twitter@Raywoolford