A helping hand
A new foodbank, which will launch in Bradford later this month, is set to help hundreds of families across the district.
The first ever InTouch Foundation Food Bank will begin to operate out of Manningham in a couple of weeks, with people being referred to the project and then issued with a food parcel to last between three and five days.
For more than a year, the InTouch team have been helping feed the less fortunate at their mobile soup kitchens and this new venture is just the latest expansion for the rapidly growing charity.
Founder and board member, Osman Gondal, said the plan was to always launch a food bank, yet plans were forced to be put on hold due to the success of the Keighley and Bradford soup kitchens.
Mr Gondal added that he hoped this new venture would be particularly welcomed by the South Asian community and explained why they decided to set up now.
“The food bank will be available for everybody who is referred, regardless of race or religion, yet we are hoping to see a particular response from South Asian communities,” he explained.
“We have seen from our soup kitchen events that the food we give out is only a short term solution for people, so by giving out parcels, which can last days, it is going to help more people.
“There is a very real need in the South Asian communities in particular, but for one reason or another, people do not come forward and access these services.
“We are currently conducting our own research into why this could be and hopefully, by linking up with Mosques and Gurdwaras, we can get the message across that we are here to help.”
He added: “The way we differ from other food banks is we don’t just hand over the food, we speak with people to find out how they feel we can help.
“For instance, in many cases it may just be bad budgeting that has put them in their situation so we plan on having financial planning advice in place.”
Meanwhile, food donations are currently being welcomed at the Sharing Voices offices, Clifton Villas, just off Manningham Road.
Schools and religious places of worship have recently been helping to collect food for the launch of the food bank and Mr Gondal explained why he wanted to get the two groups involved.
He said: “We have linked up with local mosques, schools and colleges to help achieve two primary objectives.
“One, we hoped to get the mosques involved to take them back to their original root and purpose, which was always as the heart of the community.
“Secondly, we have got students involved to make them aware that there is a need in the area for food banks and to help them understand from a young age that this situation is very real.”
People can be referred to the InTouch Foundation Food Bank through their local places of worship, Bradford Council, or the Job Centre, with collections set to take place on Mondays and Thursdays.