A food bank which provides halal and vegetarian meals to those in need has seen a 300 per cent increase in its services during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Humdum UK, which is based in Barking, offers pre-prepared meals that can be reheated as well as food that can be eaten straight away for those that do not have access to kitchens.

Prior to the pandemic, hot meals were eaten inside the food bank every Saturday but now operates a takeaway-only system.

Nighat Bhola from Humdum UK said: “We have had an influx of all kinds of people from all walks of life during Covid-19, from over 60s who can’t cook, to homeless people, to those who have been furloughed or lost their jobs.”

The food bank, at the Ripple Centre, opened in December 2018 and was the second branch Humdum Uk opened. A Thursday food bank in Goodmayes started running in 2017.

Some of the food recieved is supplied to the organisation from Tesco stores through the Community Food Connection scheme, which is run in partnership with food charity FareShare.

The supermarket chain’s Goodmayes branch is one of three to donate unsold food to Humdum UK, and store manager Bernard Osei-Tutu said: “In every part of the UK there are charities and community groups doing amazing work to feed people during the pandemic.

“We are glad that we have been able to help the Barking volunteers reach so many vulnerable people.”

Nighat thanked staff at the stores who help provide food for Humdum UK and added: “We are sought after because of the type of food we serve to those in the three boroughs around Barking, and Tesco plays a huge part in this.”

Rachel Ledwith, development manager at FareShare London, said the donations from Tesco made a difference to charities such as Humdum UK.

She said: “We are immensely thankful to Tesco for their continued support during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Many of the frontline charities we work with continue to provide essential support within their communities, and the additional donations from Tesco will help us to keep up a steady supply of food to them during this difficult time.”