Dear friends,

I’ve been receiving lots of complaints about my regular newsletter. Apparently, they are dry, lacklustre and vapid (I had to look up the last word in the dictionary).

Sadly, I must agree, but in my defence, I’ve not been very upbeat recently. The staff are too serious, and our young volunteers seem rather subdued. And there just isn’t enough gossip and drama to lighten the mood in the face of so many distressing stories of Food Bank guests who visit us every week.

Maybe working in a Food Bank isn’t supposed to be fun. But looking back, it was rather amusing to walk into the office and find the door missing – because Abayomi thought it would be funny. It was even funnier when he couldn’t actually screw it back on. He has now matured and is interested in girls. Or boys. It’s just unfortunate that his passionate feelings aren’t reciprocated.

The gloomy ambience seems to be affecting everyone. Rhyan has fallen into a kind of depression and sits for hours staring at the fish tank, and Nayem can’t stop pining for Jonathan, who left last week to be reunited with his family in Cumbria. Even Sami is losing interest in the chickens. They’re determined to escape the enclosure that he built and somehow manage to fly over the fence to temporary freedom (except the white ones, they’re just too fat to fly and only manage a wobble).

Every day, a local resident walks into the office complaining about a chicken crossing the road. Which isn’t funny when you have to spend half an hour running after it, meandering the hidden alleyways of St. Raphael’s Estate like you’re being chased by a dealer. Speaking of drug dealers, they seem to be terrified of the chickens. I would certainly recommend that the Met Police enlist a brood of chickens as part of their anti-narcotics strategy.

Anyway, back to the Food Bank…

New Advice Surgeries      

We’re boosting our offer of specialist support and advice over the next month with regular drop-ins facilitated by EACH Counselling, Thames Reach, Hestia and PLIAS Resettlement.

Alongside our own sign-posting services, these and other local charities will be stationed at Food Bank sessions on Wednesdays from 12pm to 3pm to deal with any queries relating to benefits, alcohol/drug dependency, employment and mental health support, as well as general well-being. No need to book an appointment.

Refugees Arriving…

From next month, 5 more Syrian refugee families are arriving and will need support to resettle in new homes. It costs about £700 to resettle each family, so please do donate generously to our Refugee Resettlement Appeal here.

Food Academy Plus

Our new chefs are coming to the end of their course this weekend and will be holding a Pop-Up Restaurant on Saturday 31 March 2018, for donors and supporters of the programme to see their amazing skills in action. If you’re a regular donor (minimum £5/month) you’re welcome to attend. Drop us a message to reserve your tickets.

Recruiting Now

We’re still recruiting for a full-time Operations Manager (£25K-£28K) and a new Trustee to join our board. If you meet the skills set, click here for more information on how to apply.

We’re also looking for volunteer supervisors for the Food Bank and Community Kitchen. If you’re the bossy sort, you may wish to consider applying for the role. Click here.

Growing Club

With the last of the snow finally passed (fingers crossed), Old Man Jim and his hardy band of gardeners are busy planting away on St. Raphael’s Edible Garden. We’re also pleased to welcome two new volunteers – Hannah and Linda – who are helping to supervise the Growing Club.

If you’ve got itchy green fingers, join us on Wednesdays and Sundays from 11am to 2pm. We’re also taking booking for volunteer groups, including corporate team building days, so get in touch if you’re interested.

It’s back – #FoodParcelChallenge 2018

We’d like to give you the opportunity to experience food poverty, for just 5 days, and help us raise awareness of food poverty (and some much-needed funds to keep the Food Bank open).

The #FoodParcelChallenge will take from Monday 7 May to Friday 11 May. In advance, we’ll send you a typical food parcel and your task is to survive exclusively on its contents. No croissants for breakfast, no M&S sandwiches for lunch and no chance of picking up a curry on your way back from work. Have you got what it takes?

Now’s your chance to find out. Take the #FoodParcelChallenge and register here.

Thank You

We’re really grateful to our Jewish and Muslim friends for marking Sadaqa Day and organising food and toiletry collections. In particular, we’re grateful to the congregation of Hendon Mosque who were not deterred by the freezing snow and collected over 5 tonnes of food donations!

And finally…

On behalf of Sufra NW London, a very Happy Easter to our Christian friends and Chag Sameach to our Jewish friends on the festival of Passover.


Mohammed S Mamdani

More News and Events