When lockdown began on 23 March there was so much we didn’t know – but we knew we would be needed, possibly more than ever.
The 100 days that have followed have been some of the most trying our foodbank has seen in its eight-year history. We have seen the number of people in need of our service grow and grow. We have lost those close to us to the virus – including one of our shielding volunteers – and we have continued our work while dearly missing them.
But while the challenge has grown so too has the community response. Volunteers and furloughed workers from all walks of life came to offer support. We have seen incredible help come from big companies and individual donations. All of this helps us to keep going about our core mission – making sure those who need food can get it.
We have overcome the challenges of the last 100 days, and are now starting – slowly and safely – to get back to a new normal.
At our Chadwell Heath site, we have returned indoors, offering a cup of tea and a chat as we did before the virus – albeit with social distancing and face masks.
At our Axe Street site, we continue to ask people to wait outside for everyone’s safety – but have returned to offering more choice and flexibility in what we hand out.
However while the way we try to help our community may have changed, we have become more focused than ever on what we are trying to achieve.
What we have always tried to do is ensure no one in the borough falls through the cracks when it comes to food security. The majority of those who have needed us since lockdown have been first-timers. We have seen people who never thought they would need our support – even people who have previously donated to us – ask for help. These are tough times, and we are not through them yet.
But no matter the circumstance, we will do our best to help. We are here to offer support to anyone who arrives at our door in a way that preserves dignity, respects individuality and recognises the difference food can make.
If you need help, click here.