Every year we hold some solidarity events to raise funds for a local and an international charity. Last year, Emmaus Lambeth and Surrey held three events for our chosen beneficiaries. Our chosen local charity was Norwood & Brixton Foodbank. We visited and had a chat with Tim, co-founder, Chair of Trustees and (on that day) server of refreshments, to learn more about what they do.

As we entered St Luke’s Church, West Norwood, where they operate on Tuesdays (10am-1pm) and Fridays (10am-2pm), we encountered a warm and relaxed atmosphere. They don’t just provide emergency food but can help with completing official forms and signpost to other organisations which can help. People can go for companionship as well, to have a tea, coffee, and sometimes cakes made by the volunteers.

Tim – whose finance background helped with setting up the charity – has been involved since the beginning, with Elizabeth, the co-founder: she went to a conference and heard about the need for foodbanks.

They have two new projects going on: the first one is their South London warehouse where they store donated food: half of the space of a disused church is shared with other South London foodbanks, so they need funds to rent the space, pay the warehouse manager’s salary and for other items such as scales.

They will use our £1,500 donation towards their second project, which is to employ someone part-time to help people budget, get debt-free and hopefully stay that way so alleviating the stress that can come with debts. At the moment, they signpost them to an organisation called Christians Against Poverty who help people sort out their debts by liaising with their creditors and offering budgeting help.

Tim concluded saying that volunteering for the foodbank can be challenging and tiring but it is very rewarding to help those who are in difficult situations.

You can find out more about how to donate to either of their new projects or to their general funds here, adding a note with cheques or a message online if you want to contribute to a specific project. If you are a UK taxpayer, you could increase the value of your donation by 25% by completing their Gift Aid form.

Thanks to Tim for talking to us and to everyone – Companions, staff and customers – who made our 2019 Solidarity events a success!