Providing emergency food assistance

300% increase in demand since March 2020

Ready to deliver Credit: Orla Falls

By Orla Falls, Tottenham Foodbank volunteer and Head of Campaigns

When the Tottenham Foodbank opened in November 2019, little did anyone know that a global pandemic was around the corner.

Since March 2020, demand has increased by over 300%. Poverty and unemployment have long been above the national and London averages in Tottenham, 45% of our working age population are now either out of work or furloughed – the highest in the country right now.

The crisis around how this pandemic is being addressed by our government is exposing inequalities in our neighbourhood and causing an explosion in demand for food aid. Austerity has created a ‘cycling’ between low paid work and welfare, trapping people in poverty, and delays to Universal Credit payments of up to six weeks are driving people into debt as they struggle to feed themselves and continue paying their bills.

In stark contrast, many of us in Tottenham have been lucky enough to continue working from home and are spending less on discretionary purchases, choosing to give generously to causes close to our hearts.

So, what does 2021 look like for hunger in Tottenham? We expect demand for food aid to increase further, which is why we’re thrilled to be partnering with North Enfield Foodbank in a fundraiser with Tottenham Hotspur.

In terms of our service, we’re working hard to professionalise our service, to enable us to reach many more than the 3,000 locals we helped during our first twelve months.

No one remains unaffected by this pandemic, and if you’ve been unable to afford two or more of these items: shelter, food, heating, lighting, weather appropriate clothing and basic toiletries, during the past month, Tottenham Foodbank’s friendly volunteers can deliver a three-day food parcel to your door, through our confidential service (see details below).

Foodbanks are filling gaps in a failing welfare system − but we shouldn’t really exist. We survived ‘hand to mouth’ during our first year, however, this year we aim to challenge the authorities to step up and take their responsibilities seriously so we can put ourselves out of business.

If you’re in need of assistance, call Haringey Citizens’ Advice on 0300 330 1187 (Monday–Friday between 9am and 5pm). A volunteer will take your requirements through a short assessment and quickly issue your voucher.

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