Bow Foodbank offers pensioners unlimited visits this winter

As Bow Foodbank volunteers see a 500% increase in the number of pensioners using its service, the organisation is offering them additional visits for the winter months.

Bow Foodbank has rollbacked its policy of 12 visits to its foodbank for pensioners for the winter months. 

This decision comes as the organisation has seen a 500% increase in the number of pensioners using its service. 

Joanna Read, Executive Director of Bow Foodbank, said that over the summer around 12 pensioners were visiting its Bow Foodbank a week. Now, volunteers are handing out food parcels to over 70 pensioners a week.  

Read said: ‘This group is really, really struggling.’ She said that the proportion of pensioners renting in Tower Hamlets is higher than in other boroughs in London and they’ve been hit hard with an increase in rents, both from the private and public sector. Read added that there are also associated costs attached to those suffering from illness and struggling with reduced mobility and these are increasing too. ‘Pensioners are being squeezed from many directions,’ Read added.

Alongside increasing costs, Read said that another reason for the rollback of its policy was that the foodbank was concerned about the number of elderly people who were holding back on using its services until Christmas time so they could receive larger food parcels. But now, for the months of December, January, and February, pensioners can access the foodbank’s two sites, at the Bromley-by-Bow Centre and at Raine’s Foundation School, whenever required.

Read said: ‘The impact of pensioners not eating can be a lot bigger. If a pensioner is not eating and not heating, that can be fatal. We don’t want to put pensioners in a position where they have to make that choice.

‘We want people to be able to have a Christmas where they got food on the table, and they can have their heating on. That’s the bare minimum of a start of a happy Christmas.’

If you would like to give to the foodbank, visit its donations page.

If you read this article, then read our piece on the cost of living crisis in Tower Hamlets.


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