New foodbank opens in Harpenden

Inside the King's Pantry foodbank in Harpenden.

Inside the King's Pantry foodbank in Harpenden. - Credit: Salvation Army

The soaring cost of living has prompted the opening of a new foodbank in one of the district's most affluent areas.

The King's Pantry Foodbank, which opens today, is a collaboration between the Salvation Army and the Bethany Community Church in Harpenden.

The organisations originally pooled their resources to provide a foodbank service at the start of the pandemic, but have now decided to continue this arrangement.

The foodbank is housed in a garage purchased by the Harpenden Trust - which helps local people in need - at the back of The Salvation Army building on Leyton Green.

Captain Kenneth Guest, who leads The Salvation Army in Harpenden, said although the town is seen as affluent, there is still a great deal of poverty, but praised the response of the local community during the pandemic.

“What we saw is just how many people stepped up. The public were incredibly generous with their donations and so many people offered their time to volunteer. There are still areas of poverty though and we believe the need for foodbanks will become greater.

“People’s bills are going up, some will struggle and have to make the decisions between eating and heating. Government measures to soften the blow of the huge increase in energy costs won’t help everybody on pre-pay meters. Some will be hit really hard. Foodbanks need to be visible and present to those who need them.”

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Tony Stennett from the Bethany Community Church said: “"The partnership between our two churches worked really well during the pandemic and has helped people in need.

"The service has had excellent support from other local churches, the town council, individuals, local stores and of course the Harpenden Trust. We are very excited by the potential for the new store and the help we will be able to offer."

Kenneth stressed that the two churches want to help people who use the foodbank move forward in with their lives: “We proactively encourage our clients to visit the Harpenden Money Advice Centre or to go to Citizens Advice if there is another issue. Our aim is to get them to the point where they don’t need the foodbank any more, but there will always be people who need help.

“We could not have run this service without the enormous generosity and support of local residents, local businesses, and Harpenden Trust. So many people have given their time to volunteer and/or donated money and groceries to support this project.”