Lockdown: Coronavirus crisis sparks surge of people at London food bank

Volunteers putting food into boxes at London Olympia
Volunteers putting food into boxes at London Olympia Copyright AFP
By Trent Murray
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"This kind of thing, a crisis like this, it impacts the poorest people the hardest, it always does," said the founder of a London food bank. "And it’s just not right, it’s not fair."


A food bank in London says it has seen a surge in demand as the economic consequences of lockdown begin to bite.

The Hammersmith and Fulham Food Bank has told Euronews it's handing out at least five times the number of parcels.

“Previous to this situation with coronavirus, we would distribute about 110 parcels per week to people coming into the food bank, feeding about 250 people per week," said the food bank's chief executive and founder, Daphine Aikens. "At the moment, we’re kind of doing these numbers every day, five-six days a week.

"We’ve seen people who are self-employed who are no longer having their income coming in, families that are really struggling. 

"This kind of thing, a crisis like this, it impacts the poorest people the hardest, it always does. And it’s just not right, it’s not fair."

Faced with a growing number of families in need, the food bank said it has had to expand operations to help feed those falling through the cracks as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown. 

It has started packing parcels at London Olympia - a venue usually used for trade fairs and exhibitions. But for now, it’s become a vital link in the distribution chain for food parcels across the capital.

"There was a call to arms asking people to help, realising the scale of need that would increase and Olympia London volunteered," said Stephen Cowan, leader of Hammersmith and Fulham Council.

"And we were able to connect people up and Daphine said straight away ‘yes please’. 

"So that’s why we picked the venue, it’s one of the biggest and best venues anywhere in London and it’s at the heart of our borough.”

The new facility is being mostly run by a small army of volunteers, including Yonis Ahmed, who decided to join the effort as he realised the scale of the coronavirus crisis in London.

"I was at home because of the coronavirus pandemic and I thought it would be better to help the community rather than staying at home playing games all day," he said.

Your view | What do you think? Are European countries doing enough to help those struggling amid coronavirus lockdown? Let us know in the comments, below.

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