By Toby Porter
A new drop-off point for donations to Bromley Borough Foodbank has opened at The Glades shopping centre amid growing pressure on the charity’s resources.
Figures released this week by the Trussell Trust, a national foodbank charity, show that the pandemic has seen a dramatic increase in the number of people using foodbanks across the country.
The number accessing Bromley Foodbank has risen by 33 per cent in the year from January 2020.
The new drop-off facility was officially opened on Wednesday by the Mayor of Bromley, Cllr Hannah Gray.
It offers a convenient way for shoppers to donate money or food items to help those within the community who are experiencing food poverty.
There is also signposting information for anyone in need of support from the foodbank and related agencies.
“Having a presence at The Glades will raise public awareness about the ongoing need for food donations and help remove the stigma around food poverty,” said Amanda Stone, Project Manager of Bromley Borough Foodbank, part of the Trussell Trust network.
She hopes it will encourage anyone who might be struggling to pick up the phone and seek help as many will not be aware of the support available to them.
“Without the foodbank, people in Bromley would be going hungry because they do not have enough money for the basics,” said Stone.
With the re-opening of non-essential shops, it is hoped that visitors to The Glades will be considerate of those adversely affected by the pandemic.
“It’s absolutely right that at a time when people are starting to shop again and get back to ‘normal’, we’re also thinking about how we can help each other and do our best for Bromley,” said Mark Haynes, Centre Director of The Glades.
He believes that the pandemic has changed people’s mindset, with more emphasis on localism and supporting the community.
Although the pandemic has exacerbated the rise in food poverty, there can be many other factors involved, from ill health to domestic violence.
Delays in the benefits system can also lead rapidly to debt, according to Monica Kelly, who leads the foodbank project at Bromley Citizens Advice.
This is one of many agencies that can refer clients for vouchers to use at Bromley Borough Foodbank.
The secure drop-off point for donations will be open from 10am to 4pm, Monday to Friday on the Upper Mall of The Glades, across from Marks & Spencer.
The most urgently needed items include tins of fruit, vegetables, meat or fish, plus UHT milk and toilet paper.
Visitors can also use QR codes at the drop-off point to donate money to the foodbank which costs £80k per year to stay afloat.
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