Figures released by Lewisham food bank show a significant rise in its food distribution this year compared to last.
Lewisham Food Bank announced on ‘X’ (formerly Twitter) at the start of the month that they had managed to feed over 20,000 people so far this year, which is a 42.5 per cent increase from 2022.
The food bank is one of 1,300 food banks across the UK supported by the Trussell Trust.
Last month the number of people provided with food and essentials fell just below the amount recorded the year before, with a difference of only 34 people. This is the first time in 2023 that donations fell short of figures from last year.
Over the course of this year, the average number of people that Lewisham Food Bank has distributed food to monthly has remained above 2,000 people, an big difference compared to 2022, which saw an average of 1,400 people helped each month.
The church in Forest Hill, from which they collect donations, is open every weekday for food contributions. The food bank's volunteers distribute food parcels from its five different distribution locations across the borough, which each open on different days of the week.
According to the website, over 90 per cent of food that is dispensed via the Trussell Trust network is donated by members of the public. Outside of the main donation centre, the organisation has drop-off points at around 23 different retailers across the borough, as well as online supermarket delivery donations and other locations listed online.
Lewisham Food Bank always ensure that food parcels contain around three days' worth of 'nutritionally balanced meals' which cater to the dietary requirements and needs of families and individuals who use the service.
Lewisham Council has pledged to do whatever it can to tackle food injustice across the community.
Earlier this year, the council unveiled its Food Justice Action Plan in order to spearhead food poverty in the borough. It features short, medium and long-term actions to reduce the need for emergency food aid. Partnerships and collaborative work is at the core of the action plan, with organisations across the landscape, such as Lewisham Food Bank, working together with local donors to make a difference.
The Lewisham Mayoresses and Director of Public Health in Lewisham said: "Many pieces of work are underway to help tackle this problem from numerous organisations. However, as the causes and risk factors for food injustice are so broad and complicated, we need to combat this huge problem collectively and collaboratively."
The Trussell Trust and the 1,300 food banks it supports continue to work towards their target for people to not have to resort to using food banks in the future.