Harlow Foodbank thanks neighbours and businesses as over a million meals given out in the last 12 months.

Charity / Wed 19th Apr 2023 at 07:13am

THE cost-of-living crisis may have taken its toll on the nation, but Harlow residents have given a vital helping hand to their neighbours – through supporting the work of the Michael Roberts Charitable Trust.

The Harlow charity have calculated that a breathtaking 8 – 10% of the town benefited from food support last year, through the Harlow Foodbank and The Bounty Club.

Over 4,000 food parcels were given out through the Foodbank giving 9,700 people long shelf-life food, topped up with fresh items. The average number of visits was 2.2 – in other words most people just came a few times to get themselves out of crisis. This comes as a great surprise to many, the charity has learnt. Over the same year discussions with the public revealed that a good proportion in the town think that Foodbank users come week after week. Many believe that food banks actually stop users from looking after their own needs and subsidise bad habits – but this isn’t the case.

By contrast, MRCT has offered week-after-week food support through the Bounty Club – a low-cost food outlet that enables families to access a large bag of fresh food for £2.50. This gives households a saving of £20 – 40 a week – a huge saving when times are hard. The food comes from local food businesses: from surplus and end of life food that would otherwise go to land-fill. Around 25,000 ‘Bounty Bags’ were bought at the new project which started last May. Harlow residents may have seen the daily queue for the club which goes down the side of St Paul’s town centre church on weekdays.

Andy Thornton, CEO at MRCT told Your Harlow: 

“Harlow has bucked the national trend on Foodbank use. Numbers are rising rapidly all over the country but slower in Harlow. The Bounty Club is a practical route out of the Foodbank: moving people from crisis to subsidised food. Similarly, people are kept from dipping into crisis level poverty if they access the Bounty Club.

This has become possible thanks to Harlow’s great location for distribution warehouses. We daily pick up food that has got life left on it, and there is a lot of it around here. Thankfully local businesses have been hugely behind the town. We can’t thank them enough, alongside thousands of our individual and group supporters in the town. 

It’s been a tough year, but our team are fantastic: our volunteers and staff are 100% behind Harlow! A million meals is an unbelievable achievement – thanks so much to all who made it happen!”

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4 Comments for Harlow Foodbank thanks neighbours and businesses as over a million meals given out in the last 12 months.:

Adam Taylor
2023-04-19 10:14:30

Such a sad thing it is needed, perhaps if people where not paying for 6 members of harlow council exec team to earn more than 100K and many more more than 50K people would be able to afford to feed thier families. Perhaps if people had not been forced to lcokdown and the government printing hundreds of billions then food prices would not be increasing so dramatically.

Nicholas Taylor
2023-04-19 11:11:43

For the benefit of readers who might find themselves in need of help, can someone explain what you need to do to get help from the foodbank in Harlow? Who do you have to contact, what information do you need to provide to be eligible and when and where do you have to go? Also can food be delivered to those who are unable to get to the food bank?

Andy Thornton
2023-04-19 15:23:30

Thanks Nicholas - as well as hundreds of frontline workers across the town, Harlow Community Hub can refer people to the Foodbank - they are on 01279 927005 between 10 and 2pm each weekday. If they don't answer immediately leave a message as they can get busy. Nobody has to provide any details for eligibilty, and food parcels can be picked up from St Paul's in the town centre between 10 am and 1 pm every week day or The Salvation Army between 10 and 1 on a Wednesday. Occasionally we deliver and this can be discussed with the Community Hub.

gary roberts
2023-04-20 07:35:24

Does this impression of our country really encourage you to vote Conservative at local and national level? After 13 years of this incompetent, reckless and disgusting government we not only have foodbanks but warm banks as well. Add poverty to the charge sheet and this country is in a mess. But Mr. Halfon still invests in warm words and BS and expects you to swallow it in the stiff upper-lip British way. If it wasn't so serious it would be funny, wouldn't it? As for the alternative well... No serious policy agenda just soundbites and mission statements that I suspect you cannot even name. As I said with these politicians in charge the road to perdition is getting nearer!

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