Hackney Foodbank: ‘We need donations because the alternative is heartbreaking’ - Aisling Bea backs appeal

This Way Up and Taskmaster’s Aisling Bea is backing an appeal for donations by Hackney Foodbank.

An east London foodbank has launched an urgent appeal after seeing a steep rise in demand and a fall in donations.

Hackney Foodbank aims to raise £100,000 to see it through what staff describe as “the toughest time in living memory”.

In 2017, the charity spent just £2,000 per year on food, in 2018 the figure was £7,000, and this year volunteers expect the spend to reach £125,000. They say next year it could reach £250,000.

Comedian Aisling Bea, who is supporting the campaign, said: “We urgently need everyone who can to donate, to donate in any way they can with money or needed donations because the alternative is heartbreaking. The numbers in need are staggering. The Trussell Trust and its staff and volunteers work to the bone, I have seen it first hand.”

Pat Fitzsimons, CEO of Hackney Foodbank, said: “This is the toughest time in living memory. Food donations are half what they were last year and we’re feeding twice as many people as we were before the pandemic. The demand we’re seeing now is similar to at the height of the pandemic – the difference this time is that donations aren’t keeping pace.

“The cost of living has increased for everyone; inflation, the energy crisis, rising rents and wages and benefits aren’t increasing. We’re seeing more working poor now. Food donations are so low that we’re having to shop for food – we’re spending an average of £4,000 per week. That’s what we used to spend in a year.

“The people we help are destitute. We’re seeing adults and children who are malnourished, we’re hearing from schools where children have empty lunchboxes, where teachers are buying food for pupils and children’s teeth are rotting because their families can’t afford toothbrushes or toothpaste.

“We dream of a world where food banks aren’t required, but until then we urgently need the public to pledge to our emergency appeal to ensure nobody goes hungry this year.”

To donate to our fundraiser, go to Hackney Foodbank’s Gofundme page.