Barking Foodbank, coordinated by Pastor Obi Onyeabor, is part of the Trussell Trust UK wide network of Foodbanks.
ELBA Brings The City To Barking Foodbank
Elizabeth Breaks from ELBA (the East London Business Alliance) first contacted us in Spring this year to ask if we’d be interested in taking part in their Challenge ELBA programme. Challenge ELBA links up local voluntary organizations with companies wanting to hold volunteering events and projects for their staff and Elizabeth was hoping we could work together.
Each year ELBA links up around 14,000 volunteers with community organisations in East London. In the past they have worked with foodbanks in Tower Hamlets and Newham but they get a lot of support from companies in the city because it’s close by, so ELBA was looking to spread their work further out into East London.
More and more big companies are getting involved with community projects and they give staff paid time off for volunteering – this may be practical help like painting or gardening, or collecting donations of food and clothing around their offices and spending a day sorting and organizing these for the projects to use.
These company challenges, with 20 or 30 people can achieve in just one day what it would take an organization like us weeks to do on our own. Companies can also offer special skills or advice in professional areas like law or finance.
Since we started working with ELBA teams of volunteers from companies including XL Catlin, Chaucer, JP Morgan, Zurich, UBS and Thomson Reuters have donated food, clothing and, most importantly, their time to us.
How It Began. Obi Says….
Barking Foodbank launched in February 2012 having identified local need and formalized as Charitable Incorporated Organization (CIO) in July 2014.
In 2011, our local church set up an in-house food centre to help members of the congregation who were struggling to feed their children. Later that year, in one of Barking Churches Unite (BCU) group meetings, we were introduced to the Trusell Trust’s foodbank. By this time, we had identified that short-term food crisis was widespread in the borough and many children were going to school without breakfast. We affiliated with Trussell Trust and Barking Foodbank was born.
Since then, we grown from humble beginnings operating from underneath the church stairs to a multifaceted program operating three distribution centres throughout the borough … and we are still growing!
We envision a world where every individual is able to attain their full human potential without fear.
To build healthy communities by feeding, equipping and mobilizing people to take action to improve their quality of life.
We believe everyone is created equal and we act in ways that respect the dignity, uniqueness and diversity of all.
When Barking Foodbank began in 2012, our approach was basic: non-perishable food items donated were sorted and stored by volunteers; frontline care professionals identify people in need and issue them with a foodbank voucher and; ‘clients’ bring their voucher to the centre where it is redeemed for a 3-day emergency food parcel. By listening to and valuing both formal and informal feedback from our service users, and the greater community, we are constantly adjusting to their needs, leveraging our volunteers and donations more efficiently and working towards long-term meaningful solutions to poverty. Hope Family is the product of our response to these needs.
Hope Family is the expanded foodbank project encompassing:
- Barking Foodbank—This is the core service which have proven crucial in recent years.
- Kitchen Services—provision of a kitchen for the homeless and those in temporary accommodation to cook their food rather than rely on fast foods.
- Back-to –Work Project—To provide skills development and work experience to individuals in long term unemployment.
- Clothes Bank—Clothes, shoes, and bric-a-brac donated by the public are restored and merchandised at a nominal price.
For further information on the Barking Foodbank please go to www.barking.foodbank.org.uk
Barking Foodbank In Partnership with Tesco
The Barking Foodbank is operated in partnership with Tesco, a British multinational and general merchandise retailer. A team of over 470,000 people dedicated to serving you better. for further information on Tesco please go to www.tesco.com