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Harrow Foodbank: Helping local people in crisis

Everyday people in the UK go hungry for reasons ranging from redundancy to receiving an unexpected bill on a low income.

A simple box of food makes a big difference, with foodbanks helping prevent crime, housing loss, family breakdown and mental health problems.

Part of The Trussell Trust’s foodbank network, Harrow Foodbank works to tackle hunger and food poverty in Harrow by providing nutritionally balanced emergency food and support to local people in need.

Harrow Foodbank: Helping local people in crisis Harrow Online
Image: Harrow Foodbank

Since 2013 the charity has offered 3-day emergency food, toiletries, cleaning products, baby supplies and pet food parcels to people and families from its several distribution centres in the borough including a home delivery service.

2622 people were given three-day emergency food parcels, 47.9 tonnes of food were given out and 1044 children required support from the foodbank last year.

A typical food parcel at Harrow Foodbank contains a minimum of three days of nutritionally balanced, non-perishable, tinned and dried foods that have been donated by the local community.

A typical food parcel includes: breakfast cereal, soup, pasta, rice, pasta sauce, baked beans, tinned meat, tinned vegetables, instant mash, UHT milk, tea, coffee, sugar, tinned dessert and biscuits. Some foodbanks also provide fresh produce if they are able to.

Foodbanks can act as a “huge weight off people’s shoulders” for people in precarious situations such as 29-year-old single mother, Holly, who despite having always worked and never claimed benefits, found herself with no other option than to turn to a foodbank for help.

Under normal circumstances, Holly could just about scrape by, but when her daughter became poorly she was forced to close the shop temporarily. When Phoebe recovered, they returned home to empty kitchen cupboards, bills racking up and no income to support them.

Unable to ask her family for help and after discussions with the local Citizens Advice Bureau she was referred to the foodbank. She said: “The people at the foodbank were wonderful, they understood and saved us.”

Harrow Foodbank: Helping local people in crisis Harrow Online

How Foodbanks Work

DONATE: Individuals, schools, churches and businesses donate non-perishable, in-date food to a food bank.

SORT: Volunteers sort food to check that it’s in date and pack it into boxes ready to be given to people in need. Over 40,000 people give up their time to volunteer at foodbanks.

IDENTIFY: Foodbanks partner with a wide range of care professionals such as doctors, health visitors, social workers and police to identify people in crisis and issue them with a foodbank voucher.

RECEIVE: Foodbank clients bring their voucher to a foodbank centre where it can be redeemed for three days’ emergency food. Volunteers meet clients over a warm drink or free hot meal and are able to signpost people to agencies able to solve the longer-term problem.

If you are in need of a foodbank voucher, call: 0808 250 5705, to speak to Citizens Advice Harrow, a referral partner of Harrow Foodbank, who will be able to issue you with a food bank voucher if necessary.

For more information regarding vouchers: https://harrow.foodbank.org.uk/get-help/foodbank-vouchers/

To find a distribution centre in Harrow near you: https://harrow.foodbank.org.uk/locations/

To offer support: https://harrow.foodbank.org.uk/give-help/


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