Tower Hamlets sees over 2,000 receive food handouts

By Rob Virtue on December 19, 2013 11:12 AM |

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Record numbers of people in east London are needing help from foodbanks this winter due to wide range of issues.

The last year has seen more than 2,000 people from Tower Hamlets turn to a leading charity for emergency handouts.

Founder of the Tower Hamlets Foodbank Denise Bentley said: "This month we will be feeding our 5,000th in three years. It's on the rise with 2,123 people coming to use this year.

"Challenges people are encountering range from welfare reforms and the bedroom tax to the benefits cap.

"Many people are going from six to nine months with no money coming in."

On Saturday, around 400 of those in need will attend the charity's Christmas event for which nearly six tonnes of food has already been donated.

They will each receive lunch put on by corporate events firm The Brewery and leave with a hamper to share with their family.

"The generosity of everyone involved in the appeal has far exceeded our expectations," said Denise.

"Collections at city offices, supermarkets, schools and international corporations have allowed us to fill our hampers with essential and festive food as well as gifts for children and adults."

Sue Wisbey, pro bono and community affairs officer at Wharf-based law firm Allen & Overy, said: "Tower Hamlets is our local borough, but one where nearly 50 per cent of children grow up in households that experience poverty. So we asked staff to donate gifts of food or toys for local families.

"The response has been fantastic - so far we've received 160 gifts for the appeal. It shows that people really want to do something for local communities at this time of year."

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