AN EMERGENCY food charity hopes the generosity of the community continues as it prepares to opens its second branch in Shepherd’s Bush.
Hammersmith and Fulham Foodbank only launched last May but has already provided 10,000 meals to 1,100 residents in crisis out of its base at Christ Church, in Studridge Street, Fulham.
The organisers hope to increase that number when they open a second centre at St Simon’s Church, in Rockley Road, early next year.
Daphine Aikens, 43, project manager, said: “The number of people we have helped in the past year and a bit is a real reflection of the extent of people living just above the poverty line.
“We feel like we are not even scratching the surface of the amount of people we could be helping.
“It has been amazing to see the generosity of the community and we have been overwhelmed with how much goodwill they have shown to us.”
The Fulham centre opens twice a week, when people who have been given a foodbank voucher by their GP, social worker, probation officer or another professional can exchange it for several days worth of essential supplies, including dried and tinned food and drink.
It is hoped the service can be extended to three days a week when the Shepherd’s Bush centre is up and running, as soon as enough volunteers have been recruited.
Mrs Aikens said: “Since opening, we have served the whole of the borough but it is clear that the north is more deprived and it is easier for some of our visitors to have a base in Shepherd’s Bush.
“It will also be a way of reaching out to people who don’t know we exist and who we could be helping.”
Figures show that around 48,000 people in Hammersmith and Fulham are hovering just above the poverty line, and for many, a family bereavement, job loss or illness is enough to tip them over the edge.
The Foodbank works closely with doctors, mental health services and probation teams to identify those in need, and collection days are held at the Sainsbury’s store, in Townmead Road, Fulham, to encourage shoppers to contribute a few items. Churches, schools and businesses have also been digging deep.
“We are a small team but it is very rewarding,” added Mrs Aikens.
? The Foodbank is running low on supplies of tinned vegetables, tinned rice pudding, UHT milk and long-life juice. Anyone interested in finding out more or looking to donate can visit www.hffb.org.