FIFTY churches have thrown their weight behind the new Ealing Foodbank centre due to open next month.
Some have agreed to be drop off points, while others are donating the food from their harvest festivals or congregants have offered to bring food in to stop people going hungry in the borough.
The distribution centre, or what will be known as the Foodbank Cafe, will open at the Oak Tree Anglican Fellowship, the old fire station at 216 High Street, Acton on October 18.
The Ealing Foodbank has also joined the Trussell Trust, which partners with churches and communities to open new foodbanks nationwide, and will be run by trained volunteers. Only people referred by professionals such as GPs and social workers, or organisations like housing associations, will be able to use the Foodbank cafe.
Already schools and supermarkets are starting to get on board, with Morrisons in Acton asking customers to buy a tin or two from a prescribed list on September 28 and Notting Hill and Ealing High School donating food from their harvest festival on October 10.
Chris Sutton, the Ealing Foodbank steering group chairman and member of Redeemer, a new Christian church, welcomed the support they are getting and stressed the need for this service in such troubled times.
He said: "What is very exciting is that it is not just Anglican or Methodist or Catholic churches who want to be involved, but it is cross-denominational, which is very important. I was thrilled with the response. There is so much goodwill.
"I hadn't heard of Foodbanks until my leader asked me to look into it. As we are a new church my leader felt it was important not just to meet and preach, but to show community involvement, particularly with people who are in need. The food crisis is a modern problem and increasing.
"People don't just turn up. They have to be referred and will have a voucher so we make sure the right people get help for a limited time. This is about short-term relief in a food crisis, by the community for the community. We don't want to encourage dependency. People will be allowed three vouchers for six months."
He said people would be treated with care and consideration and should not feel nervous about visiting. He said: "The aim is to make it like a cafe, with home-made cake, where people can sit and relax and talk to volunteers. We want to show interest, compassion and hope, not 'here's your food, now clear off."
Rev Mark Aldridge, from the Oak Tree Anglican Fellowship, said: "We are seeing an increasing number of people that are really struggling in these tough economic times. The foodbank is one of the responses the church is making to try and show something of Christ's compassion.
"Without foodbanks, people, including children, in our community will go hungry. Some seventy volunteers have already come to a training day at OakTree. It is shocking in 2013 that our neighbours are going hungry but this is one way we can together make a difference."
Rev Steve Newbold, from St Stephen's Church, Ealing, one of the drop off points, said: "As a church we are concerned about the whole community and particularly those who struggle in difficult times. We are disappointed that there is anyone in need, but the church has always been at the forefront of social justice issues and concern for the poor. It is also great to be part of this; all shades of Chriatian tradition working to serve those in need."
Waheed Zaman. deputy manager at Morrisons, said: "We do lots of events for charity so we are delighted to help with the Foodbank project; what better way to give back to the community. We will be handing out a special shopping list and asking customers to buy one or two items on that list. We have to help each other."
Initially the Foodbank cafe will be open Fridays, from 2-4pm and only those with a voucher can visit it by appointment.