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New Edmonton food bank now serving more than 200 households
Responding to local needs are what churches do best, as they have people in neighbourhoods who can offer immediate help when needed. It is this urgency is what led one Barnet parish to respond to the growing number of people struggling with food poverty in the Childs Hill area.
Local resident and All Saints Church member, Pauline Drayson, became aware of the growing need to support people needed who need help feed their families. With a small team of residents, they set up a food bank from the church to provide food to those struggling to have enough.
Commenting on the project Pauline stated:
“I saw a local need and really wanted to help neighbours struggling with food poverty. People in our community are at risk of going hungry and it isn’t right.”
Childs Hill Food Bank launched on the 12 September 2020 and has been on hand every Saturday between 10-12 noon to supply food parcels of essential goods, including food, toiletries and female hygiene products as well as providing a safe place to discuss issues/problems and to supply ongoing support within the community.
Since opening the church has helped many households, giving out over 200 food parcels averaging 200kg of food and other supplies being distributed each week. The system is a simple one, a client comes to All Saints Church and is greeted by a Trustee or Volunteer, and they are very warm and welcoming and do not discriminate or judge anybody.
Commenting on the project, the Revd Robin Sims-Williams, Priest-in-Charge said:
“It has been wonderful to be able to open All Saints church to help our community in this way. It has been so encouraging to have over 40 volunteers working with us to try and help. We are also so thankful to all those who have donated food.”
Due to the Covid-19 restrictions the church has had to ensure everyone’s safety by having a separate entry and exit point, with a strict mask policy and clearly marked hand sanitising points. After an initial chat, there is a very simple form asking for personal details, (in case of a Covid-19 outbreak). Volunteers prepare and pack the bags from their food supplies, largely donated by the local community, and the borough council.
Cllr Anne Clarke, of Barnet Council, said:
“It’s really sad that the food bank is needed but I can’t see the need going away any time soon. With the rise in local employment and underemployment, food poverty will also continue to grow. It is wonderful that the food bank has been able to pull together for the community so quickly. We’ll be here as long as we are needed.”
The Childs Hill Food Bank welcomes any donations and uses them to provide help to people in crisis.
As a charitable organisation, they hope to fill a gap within the community this has been made worse by the current pandemic and to help families who struggle to overcome long-term financial difficulties, by accessing local and other community projects aimed at addressing ongoing issues and barriers.
Contact with the Food Bank can be made via a page on the All Saint’s Child’s Hill website.