REAL Ethical Fund — Foodbank Partner.

REAL has partnered with The Parish of the Isle of Dogs Food Bank to initially offer funding for the first 6 months of the year.
As part of our ongoing commitment to community from the REAL Ethical Fund REAL is proud to be able to announce that our first partner for 2021 will be an incredibly local one.

Based right round the corner to REAL Family HQ in the Isle of Dogs, London (this is a bit of a long one) The Parochial Church Council of the Ecclesiastical Parish of Christ and Saint John with Saint Luke, Isle of Dogs, known as The Parish of the Isle of Dogs registered charity number is 1130764 runs a Parish Pantry for anyone in the local community to access. The REAL Ethical Fund will be contributing £500 per month to the running of the foodbank.

We hear from Vicar Tom Pyke about the Foodbank and how many people are being helped by the inspiriing project.

The ‘Parish Pantry’ has run for at least 30 years, however, recently has scaled and regularised what we do and created a weekly foodbank run by volunteers. Pre-COVID we saw 14–20 individuals at the food bank. They chose 10 items from our shelves and added a few items that were soon to be off code. From early March 2020 the Foodbank has changed in every regard.

Yesterday, We served 48 families in 2 hours with a mixture of durable goods and fresh fruit and vegetables, amounting to circa 12kg in weight. We estimate that this food is feeding 170–200 mouths. The queue for the foodbank stretched from the door, past the church and round the corner into Glenaffric Avenue.

As we continue to see demand rise due to COVID We are keen to accommodate those who are shielding or housebound, so we arrange deliveries to their door using our net or volunteers (these are also often doing pharmacy runs). Second, we have upped the scale of what we can offer, and are no longer bound by the 10 items rule. Typically our bags include potatoes and root vegetables, fruit and green vegetables, eggs, milk and bread, some chilled items where we have them, then dried pasta or rice, pasta sauce, tinned soup, protein, tinned fruit and beans/peas, tea, coffee, biscuits, treats. Third, we are making full use of repurposed food via Fareshare and City Harvest. Typically this is a mix of perishable food a few days from its end of use date.

Typically our volunteers are here to bag up on Mondays and Thursdays, receiving deliveries on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, and giving out food on Tuesdays and on Friday. Friday is a particularly busy day of deliveries and distribution — it’s the day when our volunteers are augmented by volunteers from the East End Homes Estates. On Fridays the Foodbank serves community groups right across Tower Hamlets, including 2 primary schools and several residents’ associations, whereas on Tuesdays we are serving mostly (but not exclusively) our Isle of Dogs residents. There are always calls for food, throughout the week, from our contact telephone line, and we respond as quickly as we can to these. I estimate that we are reaching 200 households at the moment across the week and we are moving 1.5 to 2 tonnes of food and household supplies.

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