Dec 27 2012 by Hannah Bewley, Harrow Observer
STRUGGLING families and people who have spent much of the cold weather going hungry were given hot meals and an extra serving of festive cheer at a food bank in Harlesden.
On Thursday last week, 20 Brent Labour councillors joined the team of volunteers at the Pentecostal City Mission Church to help serve food to more than 50 visitors.
The food bank, based at the church in Scrubs Lane, is run by Michele Lawrence. It usually opens twice a week for a total of four hours, distributing bags of kitchen cupboard staples such as pasta to those who are having trouble feeding themselves and their children.
Ms Lawrence said: “People are going hungry and it is Christmas, so everyone wants to be somewhere warm and comfortable.
“That’s the reason I wanted to give people a hot meal. When they walk out the door there is not much more we can do, but at least they can say they had a Christmas meal. It is to give them that feeling that they are not alone.
“It has been extremely busy with the food bank. At each session, we can do 30 or 35 people and before that it was 10 to 20.
“We have got both young and old applying for help.”
Recipients of food parcels must be referred by an agency such as social services or the Citizens Advice Bureau.
Ms Lawrence said she desperately needed more storage space and office equipment as well as more food, most of which is donated by shoppers through supermarkets.
Councillor Ruth Moher, deputy leader of Brent Council, said: “The council is providing computers and a printer, and we are helping the food bank find a new home.”