Kingston Foodbank set to feed 2,000 as demand grows

Kingston Foodbank looks set to feed over two thousand people in crisis one year after opening their doors to local families and children in need.

Since opening on 2 December last year, the Kingston Foodbank has fed more than 1,900 people. The Foodbank relies on donations from the public, with an estimated 5 tonnes of non-perishable goods collected through this year’s Harvest Festival.

Organiser of the Kingston Foodbank, Paul Pickhaver, said: “It’s a great amount that’s been given and it’s still coming in. Donations are coming from loads of different places, which is great. Schools, churches, businesses, and individuals are coming in with boxes and bags. All of that helps.”

Kingston Foodbank distributes about one and a half tonnes of food each month. The Harvest collection is an essential way to top up basics depleted over the year.

Demand has led the Kingston Foodbank to expand operation to four days a week, with two new collection points in Chessington and New Malden.

Mr Pickhaver, has mixed feelings about the success of the Kingston Foodbank, stating: “It’s great that people are supporting the Foodbank, but it’s obviously a shame that it is needed. There are a growing number of people who are finding themselves in need of some help at some point.”

Volunteer co-ordinator at Kingston Foodbank, Chris Steer, said: “People think we’re a leafy borough but we’re not. Lots of children go to school hungry. Or they’ll go to school having had food but mum and dad won’t eat for one or two days a week.”

A government survey taken in August 2009 revealed over 5,000 children in Kingston live in poverty. Levels of inequality in the borough are high; Kingston has 2 per cent of London’s top earners but also 2 per cent of London’s lowest earners.

Foodbank clients include many families with children caught out by a sudden crisis. Additional heating costs, loss of employment, or a change to a benefit; is forcing many to choose whether to “heat or eat”, Ms Steer revealed.

Kingston Foodbank is part of the nationwide Foodbank project run by Trussel Trust. There are currently over 250 Trussel Trust Foodbanks in the UK. Last year, the Trussel Trust fed 128,687 people nationwide, 100 per cent more than the previous year.

Details on how Kingston residents may get involved with the Foodbank may be found here.

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