Churches unite to start food bank in 'affluent' area (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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Churches join forces to start food bank
A group of 10 churches have joined forces to set up a foodbank for people in "affluent" Chingford who are struggling to make ends meet.
South Chingford Congregational Church (SCCC) in Chingford Mount, which started the initiative, is stockpiling food before the official launch on Sunday.
The new service will operate as a branch of the Eat or Heat foodbank in Walthamstow and referrals are already coming through.
Reverend Malcolm Boulter, of SCCC said: “There’s a perception that Chingford is an affluent area but people have ended up getting themselves into debt and they don’t have any money left.
“They are left with the choice of whether to heat their homes or feed their families.”
Julia Adams, 53, of Moreland Way, is from the SCCC and is one of the founders of the foodbank.
She said she spoke to Walthamstow’s Eat or Heat organiser, Gary Nash, who said they had lots of referrals for Chingford and people had to travel to Walthamstow to collect their food parcels.
Ms Adams added: “I’ve noticed a worsening of poverty problems in the area. We were hearing about people who were struggling to pay their bills.
“People are finding it difficult because the cost of living is so high.
“Not only are we helping the community but we are being more united.”
The eleven churches involved are all taking donations of food from their congregations at the moment.
The foodbank will initially be open once a week at the main distribution point at SCCC, where they have had to build an extra cupboard to house the donations.
This is believed to be the first time that so many churches of different denominations in Chingford have worked together in this way.
Reverend Boulter said: “It’s touched the hearts of lots of people who see the need out there. We don’t all see things exactly the same but together we can offer a service to the community and show some love and care to people who wouldn’t normally cross our path.”
The churches taking part and currently taking donations are South Chingford Congregational, Chingford Mount Baptist, St Edmund’s, St Anne’s, St Peter & Pauls’, All Saints, North Chingford Methodist, South Chingford Methodist, Highams Park Methodist and Ridgeway Evangelical Church.
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