Enfield North Foodbank prepares for Christmas surge, reports James Cracknell
The manager of the borough’s biggest foodbank has thanked residents for their support during a year when demand for emergency food aid has doubled.
Kerry Coe, who runs North Enfield Foodbank, told the Dispatch that the surge in demand for its services had been matched by a surge in donations and volunteers, which meant that every person in the borough who has been referred to them for food support packages has been able to get one.
“One of the wonderful things about the last eight months is that we have seen people come together as a community,” said Kerry. “It is wonderful to see people stepping in to volunteer – we have had hundreds of people helping us. As well as donations, we couldn’t do what we do without volunteers.
“We have never not been able to give people food when they’ve come to us. I want to say a massive thanks to everyone who has been so generous, it is really wonderful.”
Kerry revealed that during the pandemic to date, more than 13,000 local people in need have been fed by North Enfield Foodbank, across the whole borough. This is double the number of the previous year, although at the initial peak in spring demand was three times higher.
“I think we are likely to see another big increase [in demand] in the run-up to Christmas,” Kerry warned. “We will need people’s support.
“The pandemic has amplified the challenges that families were already facing. There’s the jobs situation, waiting for benefits to come through, debt, housing, and people obviously being off work sick – people are struggling, but I’m glad we can be here to help.”
To access foodbanks, people need a referral from a local organisation or professional, such as Enfield Council, Enfield Citizens Advice, a local GP or social worker. Of those people referred to North Enfield Foodbank this year, most have been because of low incomes.
Even if the pandemic is brought under control early next year, the economic impact could be felt for some time to come. Enfield was recently named the “most financially insecure” area in the UK, after local unemployment trebled.