Hounslow’s Feltham Food Bank charity group
The demand for our service has massively increased in the last 18 months.
Feltham Food Bank is a perfect example of community cohesion and cooperation at its finest.
The charity group is dedicated to helping cash-strapped families in the west London borough of Hounslow who struggle to make ends meet.
The food bank is a volunteer run initiative that is entirely dependent on the generous donations of individuals and local businesses in the community.
The project was first launched as a pilot in 2013 at the Feltham branch of the Hounslow Islamic Relief Association (HIRA) in response to a rise in community members unable to put enough food on the table.
Rising food and fuel prices, static incomes, underemployment and changes to benefits are some of the reasons why increasing numbers are being referred to food banks for emergency food.
According to Feltham Food Bank’s website: “People in our local community go hungry for a number of reasons, such as redundancy or receiving an unexpected bill while on a low income or delayed payment of Universal Credit.”
People in our local community go hungry for a number of reasons, such as redundancy or receiving an unexpected bill while on a low income or delayed payment of Universal Credit
Established by residents Dr Aisha Rahman of Feltham, and Faouzi Saffar of Bedfont, who is also a trustee for HIRA, the food bank became a registered charity in 2015 and hasn’t looked back since.
The charity also uses monetary donations to top up its food supply while providing bespoke assistance for individuals and families experiencing food poverty.
Open for two hours each week from 9.30-11.30am every Sunday, the food bank says it has seen a “huge increase in the number of people who have been referred for help”.
While Feltham Food Bank helped an average of 18 people per week in January 2016, that number had risen to 31 a year later before hitting 55 in January of this year.
“The demand for our service has massively increased in the last 18 months. The number of food parcels provided to families was 440 in 2016, then 801 in 2017 and then 357 in the first 4 months of 2018,” the food bank revealed on its Facebook page.
Although there’s around 25-30 volunteers, the charity recently requested the help of more volunteers along with extra donations of food and cash to meet the rise in demands.
Despite HIRA having continued to provide its premises, entirely free of charge, for the past five years, the food bank requires volunteers to meet service users, make them welcome while taking necessary details, with others needed to pack and arrange emergency food bags.
Local community member, Omair Nazimi, told FtL he’s been actively supporting the food bank ever since he and his wife saw a woman sleeping rough in the area.
“If you’ve got a full stomach and see someone in that condition, you just can’t ignore them.”
He added: “In this part of the world, there’s very few moments that force us to evaluate how much we have and how grateful we’re being. The convenience of walking into our local Tesco and picking up fresh fruit and veg from across the world is taken for granted.”
Anyone wishing to help or find out more can email Feltham Food Bank at [email protected].
Cash can be donated: 1) in person, 2) via the charity’s Golden Giving page, 3) by (Barclays) Bank transfer (Feltham Food Bank, Sort Code: 20-38-83, Acc. No: 83251209).
Feltham Food Bank
102 Hounslow Road, Feltham, TW14 0AX .
Opening Hours: Sun 9:30-11:30