A SCHOOL foodbank project hailed as the first of its kind in the UK, has provided more than 14,000 meals in Blackburn.
As part of Tauheedul Boys School’s Food For All project, the Robinson Street high school set up a one-day-a-week foodbank to be managed completely by pupils.
The foodbank works exactly like other foodbanks which have recently become so prevalent in our society.
People facing hardship are referred by the council, social workers and other agencies and the school then provides them with an emergency food parcel made up of non-perishable donated food.
Yusuf Patel, director of Tauheedul Relief Trust, the charitable arm of Tauheedul which provides a variety of community-based project across the UK, said: “We piloted this scheme in Blackburn and it’s been so successful that we are planning to roll it out into other schools in the UK. We have a passion for helping others and we want to instil that into the pupils, and what better way than to give them the responsibility of running a foodbank?
“As part of the project, the children have learned about social responsibility and helping others but it has also opened up opportunities for them to learn about food waste, healthy eating and food hygiene, as well as giving them a greater understanding of poverty in the local area.
“It teaches them empathy as they have been meeting with the service users as well as organising collections and manning the food store.”
The foodbank helps people facing food poverty, regardless of their ethnicity or religion, and with more than 7,000 people thought to be reliant on food aid in the town, there are no plans to stop the service when the school moves to new premises in June.
Mr Patel said: “We liaised with Blackburn foodbank and it is clear that across all faiths and ethnicities, there are people in this town are struggling to afford food.
“When we move to our new site in Shadsworth, we will have more room to keep food and we estimate we will be able to feed double the number we did this year. The need is definitely there and we are here to help.”
The foodbank is open every Friday from 12.30pm to 1.30pm. If you are struggling or wish to make a referral, contact 01254 674952.