As we enter what is hopefully the last days of lockdown restrictions, we found out in greater detail how we helped North Paddington Food Bank (NPFB) adapt to the lockdown.
We based this article on a video interview with NPFB’s Operation Manager Olivier Blanning.
About North Paddington Food Bank
The food bank was established in 2013 by Coral Williams, a local solicitor and Emma Morgan, a Community Officer in response to a rise in food bank voucher requests, and food aid during their volunteer work for A2Dominion Beethoven Centre. North Paddington operates across W10 and W9 and supports single parent, big families and elderly people. Many of those they help are people who are out work. In 2020, 27,512 people and 12,956 households were supported with food parcels.
Unprecedented Times and Unprecedented Demand
When the pandemic struck, food banks like North Paddington faced enormous challenges. Until now North Paddington had just operated collections for their food parcels. But lockdown rules meant they had to swiftly adapt to delivering food parcels and this is how Westway CT could help, providing vital goods vans.
As lockdown persisted demand for food bank services exponentially increased. Before lockdown, North Paddington was serving 90-100 households a week. But, during the peak of the pandemic, (for them in May/June 2020), this rose to 700 households a week, feeding around 1,500 people a week. While demand has now reduced, North Paddington Food Bank has still doubled in the amount of people they help, providing food for 200 households, feeding roughly 450 people per week.
In addition to rapidly scaling their operations to meet the new demand, North Paddington struggled to get the goods they needed. 50% of their food is donated by supporters but a combination of people buying in bulk led to supermarkets imposing limits on customer purchasing quantities, this created a new challenge for the Food Bank buying a team as these restrictions also applied to them, forcing them to find alternative ways to get food for their users.
Local Solidarity and Westway CT’s Help
While the problems that North Paddington faced were huge, they also saw how the community came together. Many people throughout lockdown and furlough began volunteering and, North Paddington saw an influx of volunteers who helped them pack food parcels, serve customers, and deliver food parcels.
Westway CT worked with several food banks during the lockdown transporting food between locations and delivering food to customers. At the height of the first lockdown Westway CT was providing 2 minibuses a day for North Paddington, 5 days a week for deliveries.
For the financial year of 2020, Westway CT helped food banks deliver 9,536 food parcels.
Olivia Blanning, North Paddington Operations Manager said,
“Westway CT have massively helped us throughout the entire pandemic. They’ve helped us get food to people who need it. And It has been great to work with another community organisation and be able to have that local solidarity.”
How To Support NPFB
The team at North Paddington has done a fantastic job in scaling rapidly and adapting to new circumstances but they could always do with your support.
The food bank buys in 50% of their food, so the best way to support them is through a regular or one off donation – £15 is the average cost of a food parcel. Though any amount you can afford to donate will make a difference please donate to them today
You can also donate food or toiletries. Here is a shipping list of their most needed items: