Food banks across London anticipate ‘busiest Christmas yet’

Food banks in Croydon and across the capital are preparing for their most challenging Christmas yet, as they struggle with rising demand and dwindling public donations.

A time to give: Aldi and other supermarkets are taking donations from shoppers as well as donating surplus food to food banks

According to a survey by community giving platform Neighbourly – which Aldi partners with to distribute surplus food from its stores – 76per cent of food banks, charities and community causes in London are worried about having enough food to support people this Christmas.

Neighbourly polled more than 600 food banks and community causes and found that 90 per cent in London expect this Christmas to be their busiest yet, with more people than ever needing their support.

The survey also revealed that 93 per cent of food banks in London have witnessed a drop in donations in recent months – with the fallout of the pandemic and rising cost of living continuing to impact contributions.

On average, food banks in London expect to see a 41 per cent increase in demand over the next three months, with organisations in the area currently supporting an average of 443 people a week. More than 77 per cent say they’ve already experienced an increase in demand since the summer.

Christmas spirit: Croydon schools and community groups  have been having collections for food banks

The research also revealed a list of the items that are most needed by food banks over the festive period. Shoppers can donate food to local charities, food banks and community groups via the community donation points in Aldi and some other stores.

Aldi’s Mary Dunn said: “This year is set to be more challenging than ever.

“As part of our Christmas campaign with Kevin the Carrot and Marcus Radishford, we have committed to donate 1.8million meals to good causes in the lead-up to Christmas – and we know that our customers in London want to help, too.

“If you feel you are in a position to help, your donation could make all the difference to food banks this Christmas.”

Steve Butterworth, CEO of Neighbourly, said, “The continued impact of the pandemic, combined with increased inflation, is being very much felt by communities up and down the country, with charities and local causes feeling the effects too.

“We’d encourage anyone who is able to give back in the coming weeks to do so.”

If you want to donate an item from your Christmas shop for use at the local food banks, here is the 15 most in-demand items this year:

  • Tinned food
  • Festive treats
  • Toiletries
  • Tea/coffee
  • Biscuits and snacks
  • Breakfast cereals
  • Juices and soft drinks
  • UHT milk
  • Laundry and cleaning products
  • Dry packaged food
  • Rice and pasta
  • Gift items
  • Cooking sauces
  • Children’s toys, crafts and games
  • Sanitary items

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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