Food bank closing for Queen’s funeral responds to backlash
A Wimbledon food bank has defended its decision to close due to the Queen's funeral following an online backlash amid the worsening cost-of-living crisis.
The Queen’s funeral will be held on Monday at 11am at Westminster Abbey, marking the final and tenth day of national mourning.
The government has declared it a bank holiday.
On Tuesday, Wimbledon Food Bank announced it would be closing. “All food bank hubs will be closed on Monday 19th September due to funeral,” the food bank tweeted. “We will reopen from Tuesday 20th September.”
Following multiple negative comments, the food bank added some three hours later: "We do normally close on Bank Holidays and as this is now a bank holiday we have decided to allow our staff and workers the opportunity to show their respects."
Wimbledon Food Bank is not alone in its decision; a food bank in East Elmbridge also announced its intention to close on Monday.
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“East Elmbridge Foodbank will be closed for the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II on 19th September,” it said on Twitter.
“We will reopen on Tuesday 20th as usual.”
Elsewhere, in Stoke-on-Trent, three food bank distribution centres, warehouses, and offices will also close on Monday.
Other food banks, however, have indicated they intend to remain open - including Community Food Initiatives North East (CFINE).
“With many already facing increasing pressures of the cost-of-living crisis, CFINE would like to re-assure you that we will continue to provide much-needed support during this time, including access to emergency food, benefits/budgeting advice, employability and skills development, and a range of other support services," it said on Friday.
Homelessness activist group Streets Kitchen urged food banks staying open to get in touch so they could promote them.
"Will any food banks be open on the 19th September?" it said on Tuesday.
"We understand that certain food banks will be shut for the Queen's funeral.
"Hit us up so we can try to ensure your local community don't go hungry."
Kwajo Tweneboa, a social housing activist, said decisions to close food banks to mark the occasion shows "foolishness".
"All these food banks closing on the day of the Queens funeral is spinning my brain," Tweneboa said.
"During a cost-of-living crisis? Just because the Queen is having her funeral doesn’t mean those worse off should be expected to starve.
"Rest in peace - but please exercise common sense. I beg."
Read more: Queen Elizabeth II's funeral procession map: The route from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey
The rising cost of living has triggered an increase in demand for food banks in recent months.
Earlier this year, the Trussell Trust reported it provided more than 2.1 million food parcels from 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022.
It has also warned that a rise in demand and a drop off in donations this winter due to the public having less money to spare is leaving some food banks running out of supplies.
In May 2022, the Independent Food Aid Network reported that 93% of organisations it spoke to reported an increase or significant increase in the need for their services since the start of 2022. It said 95% of organisations reporting increases said it was due to the cost-of-living crisis.