By Fr Peter Michael Scott, Parish Priest at St Mary’s, East Finchley and Chair of Finchley Foodbank
One year on from the start of the pandemic, Finchley Foodbank would like to thank everyone who has given donations in the past pandemic year. Finchley Foodbank was founded in 2013 and is based at St Mary’s Catholic Church in East Finchley. We are an independent foodbank seeking to help those suffering from food poverty in the London borough of Barnet. Before the pandemic, our average client numbers were just above 50. Since March 2020 and the first lockdown, that number has risen dramatically. During the first week of the lockdown, we supported 107 clients. One year on, we are supporting over 400 clients.
We are fortunate to be able to house the foodbank within St Mary’s Parish Hall and to use the grounds around the church to distribute food and provisions. We are also blessed with excellent volunteers who live within the East Finchley neighbourhood. The local community have been generous in their support, providing food and money. In addition, we have been particularly helped by Caritas Westminster and Foodbank Aid. The project has also been supported by the Coronavirus Community Support Fund, distributed by The National Lottery Community Fund.
As an independent foodbank, Finchley Foodbank can tailor some of our food distribution to the prevalent needs of clients. For instance, we are able to offer Halal products alongside meat, fish and vegetarian food. We also provide durable masks and a weekly newsletter informing clients of the latest developments in the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our projected aim for this year is to organise a Finchley Foodbank helpline, empowering clients to explore their benefit options or to access educational courses.