Alhamdulillah, by the grace of Allah Azzawajjal the As-Suffa Food Bank Project has reached its first year this month and we pray there are many more years to come insha’Allah!
The As-Suffa Food Bank Project is a response and extension of the As-Suffa Homeless Project that was initiated in 2011. The main objective of this project is to provide assistance to the most vulnerable in the community, irrespective of their race, religion or background, primarily through the distribution of food parcels.
At the As-Suffa Food Bank we have served 179 service users to date, utilising our 26 external referral agencies which include: children centres, housing associations, women aid centres, West Midlands Police, and the NHS Maternity Service. Our first year has been a steady flow with walk in service users and deliveries.
The service users we have been blessed to support are many alhamdulillah. The people we meet at the food bank are always very grateful for the food that we are able to provide – which is donated through your kindness and generosity. At the As-Suffa Food Bank we try our utmost best to support the service users we meet in any way possible. Such as finding accommodation for those who are homeless, referring them to other services either within As-Suffa Institute or to external organisations who can provide them with long term support.
It has come to light that due to a continuous rise in living costs some families/individuals, even though they are in receipt of benefits, are still unable to meet an adequate standard of living. We find that refugees/immigrants are not in receipt of any allowances and are sanctioned due to legalities with no recourse to public funds. Serving the vulnerable and tackling poverty is an encouraged practise in Islam. Hence at As-Suffa we have the opportunity to aid our communities with the help of Allah Azzawajjal.
There are a number of reasons that individuals/families may qualify for an emergency food parcel such as benefit changes, homelessness, refugee status, low income, being unemployed, domestic violence, sickness or other. As-Suffa Food Bank works closely with external referral agencies that identify such individuals that fall into any of the categories.
The As-Suffa Food Bank not only provides emergency food parcels but also signposts service users to our in-house programmes such as the Free Legal Service Clinic, Mental Health Clinic and Stepping Stones Revert Class. We also liaise with our external referral agencies and use their expertise to aid our service users which has been immensely beneficial with quick responses to ongoing issues.
There have been some users, for example, that were in desperate need of accommodation. By networking with our current external referral agencies that deal with accommodating homeless and vulnerable people, we were able to secure accommodation for them in a safe place. Another recent example is of a homeless 70-year old man who visited the food bank on the day that a housing association agency also happened to be visiting. They were immediately able to find him suitable accommodation.
There is a particular service user who we have been supporting since the food bank first opened. This service user is a refugee with a history of being a victim of domestic violence and who speaks very little English. She is struggling to find the money to feed herself and her 2 sons with the small amount of income she receives from the government, thus resulting in rising debts coupled with arrears in her rent. This is a situation we see with a lot of the service users we support. She is currently being supported by As-Suffa’s Legal Service Clinic along with regular food parcels until she is able to support her children.
This service would not exist without the joint effort of our volunteers and the agencies we work with. More importantly it would not be possible without food donations from yourselves, local community groups and businesses.
As-Suffa Food Bank would like to request sincere duaas and consistent food donations. These donations can be from individuals like yourselves, local community groups, supermarkets, shops and/or businesses, in order to help alleviate poverty in Birmingham. Due to service requirements we are unable to accept expired, short dated, damaged or opened items.
If you would like to make a food donation please follow this link for a full list of the food items we require:
Any food donations can be dropped off at the following drop off points:
- As-Suffa Institute, 25 Park Lane, Aston B6 5DA
- Ar-Rahma Foundation, 1327 Stratford Rd, Birmingham B28 9HH
- Masjid Aisha, Hamstead Hill, The Grange, Birmingham B20 1BU
- Huda Centre, 1 Unett St, Birmingham B19 3BP
- Azad Supermarket, 733 Alum Rock Rd, Birmingham B8 2NY
- Minhaj ul Quran, 14 Naseby Road, Alum Rock, Birmingham, West Midlands, B8 3HE
Alternatively if you are interested in volunteering or if you are a business, mosque, or community centre and are interested in setting up your own food donation drop off point, please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org
“The best of people are those who help mankind.” (Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon Him)