As coronavirus lockdowns around the world ground economies to a halt, food banks in various countries have seen a huge surge in demand. UK-based photographer Charlie Clift started volunteering at his local food bank and then decided to document the situation with his camera.
The Trussell Trust, which runs roughly 1,200 food banks across the UK, says it has seen an 89% increase in demand due to the pandemic.
“I want to work, but I have no prospect of getting a salary until there’s a vaccine,” a skilled health care worker named Anna tells Clift. “When I was at a low ebb, the fact that someone had put so much thought into a food parcel touched me, it really and truly did.”
“I saw huge amounts of food and essential items coming and going each day, I just couldn’t believe how much the warehouse was giving out,” Clift says. “When I talked to the people who had been working there longer, they told me of the dramatic rise in demand since the lockdown started – it was shocking.”
In April, South London Food Bank Warehouse (where Clift volunteers) fed 3,600 people — three times the usual number for that month.
“I realized this must also be happening across the nation, so I started documenting it with my camera,” Clift says.
“There’s a wonderful positive atmosphere in the food banks, everyone is friendly, no-one is judged, it’s so welcoming,” Clift says. “But when you chat to one of the people receiving food you discover just how difficult their life is.”
If you’d like to help food banks across the UK, you can visit the Trussell Trust website to donate or leave items in the drop box at your local supermarket (if you’re in the UK). If you’d like to help food banks across the US, you can visit Feeding America.
Image credits: Photographs by Charlie Clift and used with permission