Food banks to help the needy will soon be sprouting up across the EastLondonLines boroughs.
They aim to provide families and individuals with a short-term food supply made up of donations, are part of a national initiative by the Christian charity, the Trussell Trust.
Volunteers from Tower Hamlets and Croydon are currently developing food banks with the Trust, while Lewisham have their initial meeting with the Trust scheduled for early February.
Each food bank is a combined effort between the Trust, who provide the infrastructure and training and volunteer community groups responsible for management of their individual bank.
Andy Adenegan, the London area coordinator for the Trussell Trust, is currently developing a food bank with Croydon volunteers. The same process is now underway in Tower Hamlets, following a successful meeting which took place on Wednesday.
Mr Adenegan says he is hopeful that there will be a positive outcome from the Lewisham meeting.
The Trussell Trust began the food bank network five years ago. There are now 56 food banks open across the United Kingdom. Currently only five are in London, although the Trust aims to have a food bank open in every borough by the Olympics in 2012.
Food banks already exist in the United States, Australia and New Zealand, but are a relatively new concept to many Britons
The aim of the banks is to provide emergency food for people in crisis who cannot get help through other means.
The Trust say they aim to provide enough food for three days, which is the average time it takes social services departments or similar organisations to respond to emergency cases.
Peckham opened their own food bank just last month through the Trussell Trust and Pecan Charity.
Larliene Miller the project manager has seen the bank provide for a variety of people already – from refugees to the unemployed and families suffering bereavement or a sudden financial crisis. Ms Miller said: “It doesn’t take a lot for a situation to change.”
The food banks are reliant entirely on donations from individuals, charity groups, and local businesses. In Peckham, the local branch of supermarket chain Morrisons is one of the main supporters.
Jeremy Ravin, The Trussell Trust’s food bank network manager, describes it was a “charity led reaction” to the way governments ”do nothing for people in these circumstances.”
To donate to a food bank go to the Trust’s website at http: www.trusselltrust.org/content/foodbank/links.htm