Numbers turning to food bank double in just two weeks

'Going to the supermarket has been horrendous in terms of the cost increase'

Friday, 22nd April — By Isabelle Stanley

CMFB Meal Box 2.2

The Camden Mobile Foodbank meal boxes 

CHILDREN are going hungry as the cost of living crisis hits and a foodbank warns referrals to their services have doubled in the past two weeks.

Rasheeda Graham, the chief executive of the Camden Mobile Foodbank, said: “Families aren’t able to afford to feed children.

Combine unemployment with energy bills and food prices, and it’s a crisis – we’re getting back to pandemic levels of referrals, which should never have happened.”

Volunteers Miriam and Caroline sort out donations

In a “normal” week, the food bank would receive a maximum of 20 referrals, but last week it received 45.

Ms Graham said: “Going to the supermarket has been horrendous in terms of the cost increase. Even traditional meat and fish have gone up. So especially for diverse communities, where you get your specialty meats – those prices have gone up maybe 25 per cent.”

People can refer themselves to the service and don’t require “proof” that they are struggling.

Ms Graham said: “I always look at the time people have sent in their referrals and most of them are between 12 and 4am – you can see it’s on people’s minds, it’s keeping them up at night.”

About half of the people who use the service are families and 45 per cent are in full-time employ­ment, struggling to make ends meet.

Ms Graham said: “People don’t want to come to a food bank. Less than 5 per cent of our users come more than once – it really is a crisis service.”

Rasheeda Graham, the chief executive of the Camden Mobile Foodbank

The Camden Mobile Foodbank was set up in 2017 and has been based in Somers Town for the past four years.

Located in the Living Centre, Ossulston Street, it is open from 10-2pm Monday to Thursday.

They support a diverse community, creating meal boxes filled with all the ingredients – spices, herbs and vegetables, from their partners at the Story Garden – and a recipe for a healthy meal. In the past few weeks, they have been providing snack packs for Ukrainian refugees arriving at St Pancras.

Last week, they sent 60 boxes and this week the council requested 140 more.

Ms Graham said: “We put in crisps, chocolate, fruit, dried fruit. Anything when you’ve got off a train, it’s the things you need, your comfort foods – all the unhealthy stuff, and water.”

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