Islamic Help and its community partners are preparing to bring some seasonal cheer into the lives of elderly and vulnerable residents.
Our staff and volunteers have joined forces with the Balsall Heath Forum, local community groups and schoolchildren for the traditional winter food hamper distribution to households in the Balsall Heath area.
Every year, hundreds of food packs are handed over to vulnerable residents who are selected – irrespective of their race, religion, gender or creed – from a database compiled by the Forum and based on needs criteria.
The elderly are particularly targeted for help as they are at increased risk of poverty and malnutrition as a result of food poverty. This winter’s distribution is due to take place on December 16 with hamper packs made up of food items bought or donated by Islamic Help, local schools and other groups.
The food items are generally non-perishable and for long term use. Each hamper includes, among other things, biscuits, tinned food, rice, tea bags, pasta and pasta sauce, chocolates and drinks such as fruit juice.
Zaheer Khan, Islamic Help’s director of fundraising and communications, said: “As a UK charity, it’s imperative that we help those on our doorsteps and we’re delighted to have been part of this initiative for so many years.
“The value of something like this which supports the most vulnerable in our communities has been recognised at the highest levels – for example, a couple of years those helping in the distributions included Nick Hurd (right), who was Minister for Civil Society at the time.
“It’s also a great example of community and multi-faith groups working together for the benefit of those in need.”
Abdullah Rehman, chief executive of the Forum, said: “We’ve been doing this for many years and it’s a way of keeping in touch with our local residents who often feel isolated, and helps us to go on and meet any needs they may have.
“We’re proud to have so many organisations involved, including churches, mosques, charities like Islamic Help and the Haroon Tariq Jahan Foundation. Special mention must go to the local schools which play such an active role in this. For some of these residents, especially the elderly, it’s a choice between heating or eating and these hamper packs are a necessity for them.”
Islamic Help is accepting monetary and food donations for the programme but donated food items must be canned or tinned and fit for human consumption. More details can be found at www.islamichelp.org.uk/ukfoodaid