Halal and vegetarian foodbank launches at Ripple Centre

Sadaf Naz, Rita Rana and Tina Allidina from Humdum at the foodbank launch. Picture: Tilly Armstrong

Sadaf Naz, Rita Rana and Tina Allidina from Humdum at the foodbank launch. Picture: Tilly Armstrong - Credit: Tilly Armstrong

Barking’s first halal and vegetarian foodbank has opened its doors.

Sadaf Naz, Rita Rana and Tina Allidina from Humdum at the foodbank launch. Picture: Tilly Armstrong

Sadaf Naz, Rita Rana and Tina Allidina from Humdum at the foodbank launch. Picture: Tilly Armstrong - Credit: Tilly Armstrong

The service, run by community organisation Humdum UK, will run every Saturday from 12pm at the Ripple Centre in Ripple Road.

People are invited to eat a homemade hot meal at the centre and take a fresh food parcel home with them.

Kishwar Bhola, 78, the chairwoman of the organisation, explained that alongside offering halal and vegetarian food, they have “something for everyone”.

“We offer everyone food regardless of religion. My group is human,” she said.

The organisation opened a branch in Goodmayes in October 2017, which now runs every Thursday.

Since January they have provided 9,000 meals to homeless people and families struggling in the area. The volunteer-led organisation is now hoping to help families in need across Barking and Dagenham.

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“If you’re hungry you are going to get in trouble,” said Nighat Bhola, the 52-year-old vice-chairwoman of Humdum.

“Individuals and families function better when they have been fed.”

Pizza Hut and Tesco donated food for Saturday’s opening, but the organisation is looking for support from local businesses to provide basic necessities for food parcels.

Cook Tina Allidina explained how the group will also provide different homemade meals each week.

“We prepare the food at home and bring it in so it is very fresh,” she said.

Humdum is also planning to set up a “hub for period poverty” in the Ripple Centre, providing sanitary packs for women who cannot afford menstrual products.

Nighat said: “We will provide a hygiene pack for anyone who needs it. These things should be free. This is one of the most expensive things for a single parent. There are girls who are suffering because of this issue.”

Rita Chadha, 46, chairwoman of Barking and Dagenham CVS, said that she was “really happy” that Humdum had extended their service to Barking.

“In a borough as deprived as this, this is a crucial service,” she said.

The foodbank will be hosting a Christmas lunch on Saturday, December 22 where it will also be providing shoebox gifts for children.

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