An LBC radio debate on food banks yesterday heard a New Cross man break down in tears, describing how he is too poor to eat.
35-year-old Mike told LBC’s James O’Brien that he was made redundant, leading to the collapse of his marriage and forcing him to move to a “tiny flat”.
He said: “There are people out there who really are struggling and it’s not fun.”
“For these people to sit there to say oh go and get a job – I’m out there every day, looking and searching and you know you’re trying to do it but you’re hungry and you can’t do it and it gets harder and harder…. You’re just trying to get by. Some days I can’t eat. I don’t eat.”
“Sometimes you just have to go to a food bank. You don’t have any choice and sometimes, because you haven’t registered, they have to turn you away. I’ve found myself looking in bins, hanging around the back of supermarkets…I have done that and I’m not proud to admit it.”
The Lewisham Foodbank Network coordinates four centres across the borough, where staff can only give food to those who have been referred to the service by a frontline professional.
A spokesperson from the LFN, part of the Trussell Trust, told Eastlondonlines: “From the group of foodbanks we run, we are seeing about 50 or so people a week coming to us, who may represent themselves or a whole family. The two of the biggest issues nowadays are delays in benefits and people having lower incomes. The money is just not stretching.”
The spotlight on Lewisham food banks comes after the publishing of a cross-party inquiry into food-waste in Britain yesterday. The study, named “Feeding Britain”, found that 4.3 million tonnes of food is thrown away each year.
The publication also reported that the number of UK food banks had increased from just “a handful” to 420 over the past 10 years.
Those wishing to donate to food banks in the area can visit any of the four centres.