Foodbank - THANK YOU

A HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who continues to support our Foodbank so generously - especially to the churches and schools who donate Harvest produce at this time of year.
From time to time, it helps to do some number crunching.  Statistics may not be your thing, but the following data should give you a feel for what we are facing and why your support is appreciated so much.  These are not estimates or forecasts, they are hard figures representing real people in Chingford:
(1) In the last 12 months (October 2017-September 2018) we received 285 referrals and distributed approximately 800 food parcels.  This is a 25% increase on the number of referrals received in the previous 12 months.
(2) In the last 12 months, we have provided food for 667 people (all of whom live in E4).  This includes 294 children aged 0-16. Read that sentence once more.
(3) The number of families seeking help in times of crisis has risen significantly.  Whilst the number of referrals has risen 25% from the previous year, the total number of people helped has risen by 52% (meaning there are more people per referral - therefore more families).  The number of children receiving food from the Foodbank in the last 12 months has more than doubled.
Based on the most recent referral forms that are readily available at the time of writing:
(4) 40% of referrals were made by the Local Authority (social services, housing etc)
(5) Schools, Children's Centres, medical practitioners and the Job Centre accounted for 10% of referrals each.
(6) Over 50% of referrals were due to problems with benefit payments. It is difficult to put a precise figure on this, as contributing factors are often linked to this even when they are reported under other criteria (such as debt or unemployment). 50% is the absolute minimum based on information available on our referral forms. The real figure is likely to be considerably higher, and we expect it to rise further as Waltham Forest transitions to Universal Credit over the year ahead.
(7) Domestic violence was a factor in at least 10% of referrals. Remember each of these individuals live in Chingford.
(8) We do not keep written records of whether people using the foodbank are employed, but given that "Unemployment" is only listed as a factor in 20% of referrals, the suggestion that many of those who need to use the foodbank are working professionals is not unsubstantiated.
These figures are deeply concerning, and each one represents an individual in our local community.  This cannot be overlooked or ignored - reflection, discussion and action is needed.  In the meantime, we continue to be humbled by the generosity and faithful support of so many.  Thank you!