More than 2,000 families living on emergency food packets in Camden - 7th highest in London

Highgate Newtown Community Centre director Andrew Sanalitro. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Highgate Newtown Community Centre director Andrew Sanalitro. Picture: Nigel Sutton - Credit: Nigel Sutton

The numbers of desperate people forced to subsist on emergency food packets has increased dramatically, with Camden among the hardest hit boroughs.

According to the latest figures released by the Trussell Trust, a charity which runs a network of more than 400 food banks, almost 500,000 people across the UK were handed three day’s worth of emergency food supplies between April and September this year, some 46,790 of these in London.

The UK-wide figure is a 38 per cent increase on the same period last year.

David White, administrator of the Trussell Trust’s Chalk Farm food bank in Chalk Farm Baptist Church, Berkley Road, described a “constant flow of people coming through”.

Adults and children received 2,137 emergency food packets in Camden, containing basic imperishable goods, such as tinned meat, pasta and long-life meat.

This is the seventh highest number of all the London boroughs and more than double the 964 food packets handed out in Haringey.

The Chalk Farm food bank geared up for Christmas by packing hampers, bolstered with donations, to try to ensure nobody went hungry over the holidays.

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Mr White anticipates that the food bank will become increasingly busy, with heating costs predicted to be a big factor in driving people towards hunger.

He described the variety of people on the breadline.

“We have people who have been out of work for many years but there are also people who owned businesses and then, recently, something’s changed,” he said.

First set up two years ago, the Chalk Farm food bank partners with frontline services, such as social services, the police and doctors.

Mr White believes that there are still people in need who are not being referred.

“We haven’t tapped into the full potential,” he said.

Andrew Sanalitro is director of the Highgate Newton Community Centre, in Betram Street, which takes donated food parcels directly to people in Camden Council hostels.

The centre gave out 100 food parcels this Christmas to people in need.

He described the changes he has seen in the last 15 months.

“People are coming more in a crisis,” he said. “They’re coming to us when they really have nothing.”