Refugee charity successfully crowd-funds free food bank in Lewisham

Volunteers and refugees come together at AFRIL’s centre in Lewisham. Image: Action for Refugees in Lewisham.

The charity Action for Refugees in Lewisham (AFRIL) has successfully crowd-funded the establishment of a new food bank in the capital.

The £16,480 raised for the Helping Hands Food Bank will reduce food insecurity among some of the most vulnerable members of the community in Lewisham and South-East London.

Once a week the food bank will provide food boxes and parcels to refugees and asylum seekers who are destitute, with little or no access to food.

Tom Martin, Rainbow Club Manager at AFRIL warns that refugees are particularly at risk of destitution due to restrictions surrounding work, poor language skills and difficulties in gaining suitable accommodation. From Mr. Martin’s experience, there is an urgent need for the food bank:

‘From what we see of the people who come into the organisation, the destitute refugees and asylum seekers are always asking for food, clothing and toiletries and it’s something that’s been the case for years and it’s not going to go away given the support that the government’s offering.’

There is an estimated 117.234 refugees living in the UK according to the British Red Cross, which is just 0.18 % of the total population (64.1 million people).

At the end of March, Channel 4 anchor Jon Snow lent his support to the fundraiser on Twitter.

Mr. Martin believes the government are not providing adequate support to refugees to avoid destitution. If this is true, the work of grassroots organisations such as AFRIL is vital to our new arrivals.

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