Westminster’s First Foodbank: One Year On
A year ago, Westminster Chapel launched Westminster’s first and only Foodbank, run in conjunction with national charity, The Trussell Trust. A year since its launch, demand for food packages is greater than ever, and more volunteers are being recruited and funds and donations given each week. Today, we hosted a networking event to celebrate the Foodbank’s growth over the past year, and the occasion was attended by local partners and interested parties.
Over the past year, the list of voucher providers and referrers has increased significantly to 35 (full list below), and 222 adult residents of Westminster and 109 children have been fed through the Foodbank; this is only expected to increase during the cold winter months and Christmas period. Over 50 volunteers have given time to the Foodbank since November 2011.
The Foodbank provides three-days’ worth of nutritionally balanced food for Westminster residents who, for varying reasons, cannot afford to feed themselves or their families. Clients have included people out of work, those on low incomes, women escaping domestic violence with their children, ex-prisoners and ex-servicemen; a real variety of needs, proving that hunger is not just a problem for the developing world.
Much of the food donated to the Foodbank is given by the church’s 300-strong congregation, and volunteers have conducted several collections outside Sainsbury’s Market in Pimlico over the past year, and received donations from members of the public. Food has also been donated through local charitable organisations and churches, and throughout this current school term the Foodbank team have been asking local primary and secondary schools to donate food through Harvest collections.
Food bags contain non-perishable foods such as tinned fruit, vegetables, meat and fish as well as pasta, cereal, UHT milk, sauces, tea and long-life juice. Those with small children have also received baby food, wipes and products tailored to their unique needs.
Commenting on the Foodbank’s one-year anniversary, Westminster Foodbank Manager, Clare Gardner said, “It has been a delight to see so many people benefitting from the work of the Foodbank, and we have been thrilled with the support received from local service providers and partners. Please keep donations coming in, as we anticipate getting busier still over the next few months.”
Current voucher holders and referral organisations include:
Advance, Cardinal Hume Centre, Centrepoint & Princes Trust, CityWest Homes – Church Street, CityWest Homes – Grosvenor, CityWest Homes – Lillington, CityWest Homes – Lupus, CityWest Homes – Marylebone, CityWest Homes – St John’s Wood, Crisis, Gordon Hospital, Home-Start Westminster, Housing For Women: Re-Place, King George’s Hostel, L&Q Housing Trust, London Probation Trust, Migrants Resource Centre, Peabody (Neighbourhood services team), Peabody (Tenant & Family services team), Refugee Council, SHP, South Westminster Assessment and Brief Treatment Team, South Westminster Recovery Team, St John’s Hospice, St Mungo’s, The Westminster Society – Rainbow Family Centre, Veterans Aid, West London Churches Homeless Concern, West London Day Centre, Westminster Befriend A Family, Westminster CAB, Westminster Chapel, Westminster Children’s Service, Westminster Mind, and Westminster Mind – Portgate Support Centre.
We are especially grateful to the following generous donors:
Methodist Central Hall, St. James the Less, St. Stephen’s with St. John’s, All Souls Club House, Westminster Chapel, The Biblestudy Fellowship, ‘Buckaroochies’ mother and toddler group, Civil Servants at Clive House, Petty France, Burdett Coutts CE Primary School, The Greycoat School, Our Lady of Doloures Primary School, St. Vincent’s RC School, Westminster City School, Westminster Almshouses, Marks and Spencer, Victoria and Wildfireapp.com.