Spotlight on Hackney Foodbank

Published on Sep 21, 2023

Name Of organisation
Hackney Foodbank
Aim of organisation
Hackney Foodbank aims to relieve Hackney residents’ financial hardship by providing them with emergency food parcels that can last for about 3 days and direct them to other organisations that can offer advice on any underlying problems they might have.
Name of Project
Supporting those in the London Borough of Hackney, through the cost-of-living crisis and increasing levels of food insecurity.
What are the key objectives of this project?
To partly cover the cost of food purchasing for its beneficiaries. Their role isn’t to fully support beneficiaries indefinitely, but to provide them with the help they need during a difficult period, until they get back on their feet.

The charity prepares 3-day food parcels, that include everything from tinned food to household items like toilet paper. Sometimes, it might even include fresh fruit, depending on what has been donated, although usually parcels have items that can have a longer shelf-life.

Hackney Foodbank relies fully on food donations. Since the donations have fallen by 50%, the charity needs to buy more food than previous times. The cost of food has also risen in the last year.

This has  made the request for help from Hackney Foodbank to go up to 100% in comparison to pre-pandemic times and even more than the first months of the pandemic when lots of people had lost their jobs, or when on furlough.

Ins and outs of the scheme
Hackney Foodbank has its usual food distribution on Thursdays. Recently, they began a food distribution on Fridays as well, aimed to assist people working 9 to 5, but yet are not able to feed their families with their current paycheck.

The idea behind the scheme is to help people with a few items that they might need, instead of fully supporting people for a prolonged period of time. The people are offered help, after they are recommended to the charity through referrals. That results in them getting a food voucher for the charity. The charity is trying not to give too many vouchers to each individual, trying to only give one voucher to each person no more than once every 3 months, and to help people for as long as they need it, until they get back on their feet.

The food packages are meant to last for about 3 days. They include different items such as tins, toilet papers, sanitary products, and sometimes even fresh fruit. The items can differ each time, depending on the type of food and sanitary items that have been donated.

Beneficiaries using Hackney Foodbank
All the beneficiaries are Hackney residents. Very few own their houses, with the majority concerned about being able to pay rent. Most of them come to collect the food parcels from their Hackney Foodbank centres.

Quite a few of them are elderly, who due to the rising cost of living, have to choose where to spend their money: food or to pay for rent/utilities/heating.

It needs to be noted that the charity has seen a rise of people with safe jobs such as nurses, teachers and others, using their services, as their payment is not enough to cover the basic needs.
The day is separated into 2 shifts, bringing the total of volunteers daily to about 8 to 10.