Over ten years ago a friend came to us and said “I’ve just opened a foodbank in Kingston and the impact has been huge. You should come and have a look and see if there is a need in Epsom & Ewell.”
We did. And there was.
…in July 2012 and to our amazement over 70 people turned up, from all walks of life. The majority were supportive but in disbelief of the need. A few dismissed the idea saying ‘nobody in Epsom & Ewell goes to bed hungry at night’. Unfortunately, that theory was soon disproved..
…with one centre in Ewell and one in Epsom, adding Leatherhead and Tadworth in 2013, and finally Banstead in 2014. Since opening, we have seen a steady increase in demand at all our foodbank centres. In 2022 we provided food and support for around 7700 people. In response to the increased need in our community, our activities gradually expanded to include energy workshops, support work, counselling, and our work with refugees.
With the growth of the foodbank came the realisation that emergency food aid is not a long-term solution to poverty. So, in 2019 we launched a new initiative, the East Surrey Poverty Truth Commission, listening to the stories of people coming to our foodbank and involving them in discussions about how to tackle it.
As we look ahead after 10 years, our vision is now focused on tackling the root causes of poverty, and the hope of a future without the need for food banks.