Image above: food donations at Hounslow Community Foodbox
Demand for emergency food support soars
Volunteers working at the Hounslow Community FoodBox in Brentford say there has been an exponential increase in people coming to them for emergency food support over recent weeks in the run up to Christmas.
Between 50 and 60 people rely on the food bank’s services every day and by Monday 19 December the volunteers had sent out 160 Christmas hampers, providing food and gifts for Christmas Day, which will help around 500 people.
Food banks are one of the most popular ways to donate food to people in need and one of the most relied-upon charity services. Use of food banks has skyrocketed over the last decade, with UK food bank charity the Trussell Trust reporting that reliance has increased by 81% in the last five years.
To qualify for food support from Brentford FoodBox applicatns must live in the London Borough of Hounslow and need to be referred by one of the charity’s referral partners, which include various Hounslow Council services such as the Community Hub, local schools and GPs.
Organisers at the Hounslow Community FoodBox, based out of the Rose Community Centre in Brentford, say they expect to help more people in 2023 than they have needed to in previous years. The charity was set up in 2012 in response to the rising number of people facing poverty in the London Borough of Hounslow.
They spend up to £2,000 per week on food from supermarkets, which comes from donations and sometimes out of their own pockets. They say while emergency food donations cannot solve poverty, they can provide a lifeline while people try to address other issues.
Image above: trolleys filled with donated items
How can I donate?
With Christmas fast approaching, here is how you can support Hounslow FoodBox – or find help for yourself, your family or your friends.
Donations are welcome during the food bank’s opening hours, between 10.00am – 12.00pm. The food bank is closed on Mondays adn will be closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
FoodBox will be open as normal on Christmas Eve from 10am – 12pm and will reopen after the Christmas break on Wednesday 28 December at 10am. On New Year’s Eve FoodBox will be open from 10am – 12pm and then reopen in the New Year on Tuesday 3 January.
You can donate in a variety of ways:
- Bring your donations directly to FoodBox at the Rose Community Centre, or a volunteer driver may be able to collect from you.
- Bring your donations to one of the charity’s collection points at ASDA Hounslow, Co-op Boston Manor Road Brentford, Morrisons Brentford or Sainsbury’s Isleworth.
- Organise or contribute to a street or neighbourhood collection in your area
- Run a volunteer food drive either as an individual, business, school or other religious or non-religious organisation.
- Donate as a local catering business or one that has a kitchen. School kitchens can also donate surplus supplies.
You can contact volunteers at Hounslow FoodBox at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 07719 891787 during opening times and 07718 263614 at other times. If you aren’t able to food, toiletries or other items, the charity accepts cash donations too.
Image above: festive donations to the food bank from local churches
What should I donate?
Volunteers said they would be grateful for all non-perishable, frozen and fresh food donations this Christmas.
Non-food items such as: toiletries, toilet paper and cleaning products are always in need too.
Festive treats such as selection boxes, toiletries sets and as many small new toys and treats for school children as possible are in need too.
Stock levels vary from week to week, meaning the Foodbox’s requirements are often changing. For the most up-to-date shopping wish list, you can download the most up to date shopping wishlist on their website. Regular food items which are needed include:
- Tinned & fresh potatoes or mash
- Tinned meat – casseroles, corned beef, ham
- Tinned fish – tuna, salmon, sardines
- Tinned vegetables – sweet corn, peas, carrots, beans
- Tinned and fresh fruit
- Instant noodles
- Small cooking oil
- Tinned custard
- Rice pudding
- Halal compliant, Gluten-free & foods suitable for diabetics
The charity’s Christmas Appeal is supported by Brentford F.C., who visited the food bank to help out recently.
How can I get help?
If you need to use the food bank’s services, you need a referral from either a GP or any one of the FoodBox’s referral partners.
Hounslow’s Community Solutions team perform a triage service for food bank services, which bypasses the need for a GP referral or otherwise. Self referrals are unfortunately not allowed.
Many teams at LB Hounslow provide referrals too, including:
- Children’s Centre and Adult Services
- Community Hub (020 8583 2211 or email@example.com)
- Discretionary Local Crisis Payments
- Early Help Hub
- Families First and Intensive Support
- First Contact Team
- Homelessness, Independence and Preventative Services
- Hounslow Early Intervention Service
- Hounslow Housing, Planning and Communities
- Mental Health Support, Wellbeing and Prevention
- Wellbeing, Recovery & Placement Mental Health Team
Find out more about Counslow Community FoodBox on their website.
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