Coronavirus Will Affect Services for the Most Vulnerable

The Perfect Storm for Food Banks

A Note from the Director

It’s the last thing we need when experiencing the highest demand for emergency food aid in our history: Coronavirus.

While people are fighting over the last toilet roll in their supermarket, our donations of food from the public are dwindling, and we are struggling to purchase the food and toiletries we provide in the quantities we need. It’s likely that the situation will deteriorate further in coming days.

Aside from a host of additional hygiene measures designed to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus in our community, we are having to make some difficult choices about how – and if – we can run our services.

Never before in our history have we cancelled Food Bank or Community Kitchen – not even when it falls on Christmas Day or Easter Sunday. But we have now stripped back our services to ensure that we can still support the most vulnerable in a way that minimises potential transmission.

Our guests (service users) have more vulnerabilities than the average population. Many of them are refugees or asylum seekers with links to Iran, Italy and other countries which have experienced high risk of infection.

From this week, our Community Kitchen will operate on a take-away basis, meanwhile all of our advice work for food bank guests, refugees and asylum seekers will be done over the phone.

It’s likely that by next week we may need to move to Phase 2 of our action plan, which will involve shifting to a delivery-only service for the majority of our food bank guests.

But this is just the tip of the iceberg. All the indications are that the UK is on the precipice of a recession, which will mean that financial donations to the charity will also start drying-up while demand for food aid rises. Add to this the impact of austerity and universal credit and you can see why this really is the perfect storm.

Families that visit food banks simply can’t afford to hoard food in the way that others have been doing in the past few days. That’s why we’re asking you to donate surplus food or toiletries to Sufra NW London (or any other food bank near you). Click here to see a list of items we need.

Please also consider making a financial donation to help get Sufra through the next few months.

Thank you.

Rajesh Makwana

Director @SufraNWLondon

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