I recently had the chance to help our local foodbank, we took goods from Hornchurch Baptist Church to the foodbank in Rainham. With the help of my 18 month daughter, we loaded up the car with cans, packets and pasta and headed out on the road, heavy loaded with supplies

Driving our goods to the Mardyke Community Centre in Rainham, I thought about how Foodbanks have recently had a hard press. During his departmental question session with MPs, Educational Secretary Michael Gove appeared to suggest that foodbanks are supporting families who are not managing their finances efficiently:

“I had the opportunity to visit a foodbank in my constituency only on Friday and I appreciate that there are families who do face considerable pressures.

It’s often as a result of some decisions that have been taken by those families which mean that they are not best able to manage their finances.

What we need to do is to ensure the support is there not just financially but also to make sure that the right decisions are made.”

These comments seem to demonstrate a misunderstanding of the foodbank system. People who use foodbanks cannot simply drop in to pick up some grub but they have to be referred by professionals such as health visitors, social workers or head teachers. They will provide a voucher that has to be handed to the foodbank before the food parcel is given and this makes sure only the needy are given the food donated to the centres
So how can we assist with the cause?

Food can be donated at any of the 3 Havering foodbanks (details below) or there are often collection for foodbanks at local churches, supermarkets and community centres. Some foodbanks will even arrange for collection

Shopping List for foodbanks
GoodsTinned beans or spaghettiTinned fish

Pasta (500g)Tinned vegetablesTinned fruit

Rice(1kg)CerealsTinned dessert

Milk (UHT)Tea bags (80 and 160 bags)Custard

Sugar (500g and 1kg)JamSponge puddings

SoupInstant coffeeBiscuits

Pasta saucesTinned meat (Meat Balls, CornedFruit Juice (Cartons or Boxes)

Tinned tomatoesBeef, Ham, Chicken)Instant Mash Potato (Packets)

 There are 3 foodbanks based in Havering:

Collier Row foodbank

The Church of The Good Shepherd, Collier Row Lane, Romford RM5 3BA
Contact Details
Telephone: 01708 745626
Email: hub@thegoodshepherd.co.uk

Harold Hill foodbank

153 Hilldene Avenue, Harold Hill, Romford RM3 8DL
Contact Details
Telephone: 01708 386323
Email: mark@haroldhill.foodbank.org.uk
Website: http://haroldhill.foodbank.org.uk/

Rainham foodbank

King of Kings Community Centre, Mardyke Community Centre, South Street, Rainham RM13 8PJ
Contact Details
Telephone: 01708 521728
Email: info@rainham.foodbank.org.uk

At the end of our journey we meet Vivian, the lady coordinating the Rainham foodbank effort and seen the work of the Volunteers, who had unloaded our car in seconds, and I think of this important effort that may have been disrupted by Michael Gove’s careless words. Foodbanks main goal is to get food to those who need it and not just those who want it and we should all do our best to support them

Foodbanks are not an easy option for those who ‘could do better’ but a lifeline for those who have fallen on hard times through no fault of their own.

For more information about foodbanks in your area please, go to the official website here: