It’s been a little while but we’re finally back with an exciting new partnership for winter 2k18. For our tenth campaign, we’ve teamed up with Sufra, which is an amazing food bank and kitchen in North West London. Sufra describes itself as a life-line for people in crisis, “including families living in extreme poverty and people who are vulnerable, homeless or socially isolated.”
Sufra aims to empower service users with new skills, the motivation and encouragement to find work, and supports refugees in accessing housing and healthcare when they first arrive in the country.
We were lucky enough to meet Sufra’s Office & Service Manager, Saba Hassan, during one of their weekly community kitchen events. As always, we love to hear more about the organisations we’re partnered with from those who work with the community everyday, and Saba was kind enough to tell us all about the work Sufra does.
What kind of work do you do and who do you help?
Sufra NW London is a community Food Bank and Kitchen that, works on the front-line in the fight against hunger and poverty whilst also offering a wide range of services and community-based activities that empower individuals and families to overcome impoverishment and social isolation.
Last year, we fed over 3,000 individuals experiencing food poverty in North West London. The individuals we support are experiencing personal and financial crises, and are in need of support with emergency food aid and toiletries.
Among those who come to us, we regularly help women who are experiencing disruptions to their benefit payments, those who are homeless or fleeing domestic violence, refugees and asylum seekers.
What kind of issues are the women using Sufra’s services facing?
These women are always in need of toiletries and sanitary products as a part of their parcels, which we strive hard to provide. Many of the women are pregnant or mothers with newborns, and so it is often essential for us to provide Mother and Baby Kits to support them with the supplies they desperately need.
Our first campaign was driven by the desire to provide sanitary products to a homeless shelter, because the Government currently doesn’t providing funding for this, despite offering allowances for condoms and razors. Do you receive any local or national funding in this capacity?
We don’t receive any local or national funding from the Government to provide sanitary products. We are entirely reliant on the community to raise funds and the products we need to stock up the Food Bank with the supplies our guests are in need of.
Do you find that a stigma exists in relation to discussing periods and how do you think it might be combated?
I find that, among Food Bank guests, there is a stigma attached to periods and discussing individual needs to manage this. There is often a shyness, secrecy and embarrassment for this need. We make sure that every guest, whether it is a woman or a man attending on behalf of his family, is aware that we make this provision.
How do you feel that our campaign could benefit your organisation?
We are always in need of support to meet growing Food Bank demand, by having campaigns such as A Bloody Good Cause provide us with the toiletries, sanitary products and baby items that our guests require to maintain their dignity and meet basic human needs.
How did you get into this line of work yourself?
I have always been passionate about poverty alleviation initiatives and have always been a keen supporter of various charities that I have come across in a voluntary capacity. After completing university, I undertook an internship at the Faith & Belief Forum, a charity that promotes social cohesion, to learn more about building community. These came together in my role as Service Manager at Sufra NW London, a charity that combines both community building and poverty alleviation in a wonderful way.
Our current campaign runs until the middle of December 2018, closing just in time for Christmas. While Christmas is a very happy time for most of us, for the less fortunate, it can be very difficult indeed. Christmas really is a time for giving, so we hope that you’ll all embrace the festive season and donate to this amazing organisation as part our campaign!
You can find all the ways to donate listed here. As Saba mentioned, Sufra are in desperate need of sanitary towels and nappies, which can be purchased and sent to us directly via Freda (all products are eco-friendly and organic) or our Amazon wish list (which generally avoids postage fees)!
If you would like to donate in person or via post (with your own selection of products), please get in touch and we will do our best to arrange this.
We are also crowdfunding for monetary donations, which will be given straight to Sufra once the campaign closes. Donations of money will be used on additional products such as toilet roll, soap, razors, toothbrushes, baby milk, baby wipes, towels, blankets and anything else required by the Food Bank. Funds will also be put towards Mother & Baby kits for new or expectant mothers, which contain items such as bottles, clothes, rattles, teething rings and other essentials. For a full list of these items, please get in touch!
If you aren’t able to donate this time, we would still love it if you could spread the word about our campaign to your family and friends!
Thanks for reading,