‘Sad sign’: Hackney Foodbank in urgent donations plea as demand soars by 70 per cent

Hackney Foodbank CEO Pat Fitzsimons. Photograph: Hackney Foodbank

Hackney Foodbank has put out an urgent call for donations after seeing demand jump by 70 per cent in the space of a year.

The charity, which has been running for a decade, provides emergency food parcels for 650 people every week.

From January to August this year, 70 per cent more people have needed these parcels compared to the same period in 2022.

Sixty-nine per cent more children have needed feeding, and the number of over-65s using the service has more than doubled.

But food donations in that time have dropped by 23 per cent.

Hackney Foodbank’s CEO, Pat Fitzsimons, said: “We are working flat out to provide emergency food, but we need more support.  We urgently need to increase food donations if we’re to ensure people in poverty don’t go hungry.

“Many of the people we support are malnourished. The number of people in need has been steadily rising – things are getting worse, not better.

“It’s a sad sign of the times – Universal Credit simply isn’t enough to cover people’s basic needs. Many of the people we support are working but earning a low income; others are unable to work due to illness, age or disability. We need a complete overhaul of the benefits system.  Until that happens, we’re dependent on our community to ensure nobody goes hungry.

“With winter on the way, high energy costs and the high cost of living will plunge many more into crisis. We urgently need more donations.

“The best way people can support us is to donate a monthly amount – that way we can usually claim an extra 25 per cent on donations via Gift Aid.”

So far in 2023, the Foodbank has distributed an average of 3,700kg of food per week from its six local distribution centres.

Since opening in 2012, the charity has handed out over 864,632kg of food and household items to people in crisis or trapped in poverty in Hackney.

To donate, visit hackney.foodbank.org.uk/make-a-donation.