A new scheme has put food on the table for almost 200 people in desperate need.

The Rev Marcus Bennett launched Wimbledon foodbank three months ago after a request from a man whose life had fallen apart sparked a “Eureka” moment.

He said: “We’ve been amazed at the speed with which it has taken off.”

Mr Bennett explained the charity – which launched on October 31 – gives out three-day emergency food parcels to those with no savings who find themselves in crisis.

He asked: “If the heating packs up do you feed the kids or do you fix the heating?”

So far the foodbank has supported 179 people from across Merton – including a recently widowed man whose benefits had been cut and a 19-year-old woman left to care for two siblings after her mother died.

Clients receive food after being referred to the foodbank by 45 of the borough’s charities, churches and Government agencies.

Mr Bennett, a pastor at Elim Pentecostal Church in High Path, where the foodbank is based, said he was hoping to widen the range of organisations who could spot people that might be in need of help - and said the foodbank also sent its clients towards sources of long-term help like debt counsellors.

The foodbank is stocked by donations – a recent collection outside Sainsbury’s brought in 700kg of produce, while Christmas collections at other businesses and churches each brought in a substantial selection of food.

Mr Bennett said: “This morning someone donated 8kg and she said she would be donating every month.”

An official launch for the project will take place in the next few months.

The project is the Merton franchise of a national scheme run by Christian organisation the Trussell Trust.

For more information visit wimbledon.foodbank.org.uk.

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