4,967 people in Havering relied on emergency food supplies from food banks

Volunteers helping out at the food bank in Harold Hill

Volunteers helping out at the food bank in Harold Hill - Credit: Archant

Nearly 5,000 emergency food packages have been handed out by Havering food banks in the last year - with 2,128 of those packages going to children.

The figures, released by The Trussell Trust, show Havering to be the sixth highest London borough for the amount of people using food banks between April 1 2015- March 31 2016.

The trust which has centres in Harold Hill, Collier Row and Rainham recorded 4,967 people requiring three day emergency packages.

Harold Hill’s food bank in Faringdon Avenue accounted for about half of the borough’s supplies with 2,325 receiving packages in the last 12 months.

The figures have remained pretty stable from last year with 22 less people requiring three day emergency food supplies.

Harold Hill Foodbank manager Mark Reeves, said: “We are quite pleased to see the figures stabilise but we remain concerned as we are aware of the difficult budget cuts that Havering Council faces.

“I can imagine things are going to remain very difficult for many families over the next 12 months.”

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The food bank is also taking further steps to ensure people get back on their feet during hard times.

Volunteers and staff run a job club in partnership with St Georges Church in Chippenham Road and hold budgeting courses to help people with their finances.

Mr Reeves also points out that it’s always different people using the centre as a “stop gap”.

He added: “Since we opened in January 2012, the figures have continued to rocket and it’s only in the last two years figures have begun to stabilise.

“But its different people all the time that come to us, it’s never the same people returning over and over again.”

Nationally, 1,109,309 three day emergency food supplies were provided to people in crisis by Trussell Trust foodbanks.

A Trussell Trust spokesman said: “The figures on national food bank use prove that the numbers of people hitting a crisis where they cannot afford to buy food are still far too high.

“One million three day food supplies given out by our food banks every year is one million too many. This must not become the new normal.”