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May 13 2013

Harrow’s Foodbank – Donate at Civic Centre w/c May 20, 2013

foodbankHarrow Council is urging residents to add an extra item of food to their weekly shopping list, which can be donated to a family or person in need. Harrow food bank will run a collection point in the Civic Centre reception area throughout the week of May 20.

The food bank, which will open in June, is being set up by a cohort of churches across the borough and is overseen by the Trussell Trust. It will begin at Holy Trinity Church in Wealdstone and there are plans to set up a network across the borough.

Harrow Council and not-for-profit community and voluntary organisations are supporting the food bank by providing volunteers and offering collection points. A number of organisations have also given money towards setting one up, including Harrow Housewarmers – a scheme run by the Council, Age UK Harrow and Harrow Citizens Advice Bureau, among others – which donated £4,000 earlier this year.

Harrow Council is supporting the food bank as part of its commitment to support those most in need in the community. Rising living costs in recent years has made times tougher for many families. Government-introduced welfare reform – the localisation of Council Tax benefit; an ‘under occupation tax’ on Council homes and the benefit cap due to be introduced later this year – will also lead to people needing extra help to pay their bills and feed their families.

Harrow Council Leader Cllr Thaya Idaikkadar said: “It is hugely commendable that Harrow’s churches have decided to pull together to run this very worthy project. Sadly, we expect to see more people turning to the Council and charities for help and support as welfare reform starts to really bite this year. But projects like this, as well as Harrow Help and the emergency relief scheme within that, can really do something to help people when they need it most.”

Carolyn Rogers is among local residents who are volunteering and approached the Council to have a collection point. She is a member of the steering group set up to oversee the project, as well as one of the churches taking part.  She said: “This is a very important project that will really help the people who need it most in our borough. But we need the help of the people of Harrow to make it work. Whether it’s donating money or your time to staff a food collection point or the food bank when it opens, or buying an extra item during your weekly shop and bringing it along to our collection – it really will make a difference.”

People visiting the Civic Centre during the week of May 20 to pay bills, attend appointments or get advice, can bring along an item of non-perishable food. Examples include:

  • UHT or powdered milk
  • Peanut butter
  • Pasta sauces
  • Tinned tomatoes
  • Breakfast cereals
  • Lentils or beans
  • Tinned meat/fish
  • Packet of biscuits

The food bank will provide three days of emergency food to local people in crisis with advice and signposting, with the aim of helping them out of crisis, as well as an offer of prayer. People will have to meet specific criteria and will be referred by one of 12 organisations, including Harrow Citizen Advice Bureau and the Harrow Help Scheme. They will be entitled to up to three food parcels a year. Recipients will also be offered advice and support by the agencies that refer them.

There are other collection points at churches and community buildings around Harrow. For more information log onto: www.harrow.foodbank.org.uk, email: info@harrow.foodbank.org.uk or call 020 8863 6131 (part time office)

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