People from across every sector are banding together to offer whatever help they can to those who need support during the pandemic.
The latest to direct their resources to a good cause is Investec banking group – who have committed to supplying nearly 53,000 essential food items a week to foodbanks in Hackney, Newham and Tower Hamlets for the next three months.
Investec will work with Aldi to make deliveries to the foodbanks and are keen to include a special ‘non-essential’ item in what they supply each week.
It meant people in Newham forced to rely on food parcels received Easter eggs with their supplies over the bank holiday weekend.
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The initiative will specifically target supply chain problems brought about by the lockdown, which has meant many foodbanks are facing stock shortages themselves. Those involved will also be keeping an eye on how best to support families who would usually be relying on free school meals to stay afloat.
The project was spearheaded by the banking group’s head of strategic client partnerships, Deborah Sayagh, who is local to Hackney and got in touch with MPs and foodbank staff to find out how Investec could help.
Sayagh said their goal is to make sure foodbanks “always have more than they need” until at least the end of June and are committed to working with them as long as is required.
She added: “We are privileged to be able to help alleviate some of the extreme pressure on those who are most in need.”
Yasmine Patpatia at First Love Newham said the foodbank has seen a 700 per cent increase in people in need of their support over the last month compared to this time last year, forcing staff to transform the way they do things.
“One of the safety measures we have implemented is delivering food door-to-door,” she said, adding that supplies from Investec have proved to be “a vital lifeline” and allowed them to scale up their operation.
Melanie Rochford, a staff member at the Trussell Trust foodbank in Hackney, said “more people than ever” need help from foodbanks during the coronavirus outbreak and resulting economic shutdown. “In times of crisis, more people than ever need help from foodbanks.
She added: “The Covid-19 pandemic has placed significant demand on our already overstretched resources to support individuals and families living below the poverty line. Investec’s generous commitment offers much needed stability at a very difficult time, which is allowing us to focus on offering essential support to those most vulnerable.”
We’re shining a spotlight on the people and organisations supporting their communities during this difficult time. Keep checking back at The Big Issue for updates on the creative ways people across Britain are finding to do their bit.