Bow Foodbank

Our mission is to provide food and support to anyone in need.

We are an independent food bank and provide 10 food items every other week to our clients, many of who are ineligible for support from other foodbanks.


We are located at Bow Church (St Mary & Holy Trinity Church), 230 Bow Road, London E3 3AH (see our contact page for a map showing our location).
Bow is in the London borough of Tower Hamlets, is ranked the
third most deprived local authority district in England with 70% of households surviving on an income of less than £20,000 a year and 42% of children living in poverty - the highest rate of child poverty in all of the UK.
The borough has the second highest level of unemployment in London, with a further 6% of residents claiming long term sick or disablement benefits. Though a fifth (19%) of residents are in low-paid work, Tower Hamlets also has some of the highest rents in London, leaving thousands struggling to make ends meet.


Bow Foodbank is open every Monday, throughout the year, between 9.30am and 12.30pm.
Anyone in need of our services is welcome to request our support during these hours


We are intent on reaching those most in need, through direct access and not requiring referral, with on-going support to more than 200 clients ineligible for support from other food banks. We are also happy to help those referred to us by other support services.
In our first year of operation, we were able to help
837 people with food and support, including 177 children


We believe in increasing choice, cutting waste, and challenging stigma with a ‘free choice’ model rather than pre-packaged food parcels. Our clients choose the food and other goods they most need, with support from our volunteers.
More than 25,000 items of free food are distributed to those in need annually

We provide a wide range of nutritious, non-perishable food items such as tinned fruit and vegetables, rice and pasta, breakfast cereals, soup, biscuits and fruit juices. We also provide some personal toiletries including nappies and sanitary products, shampoo and soap, toothpaste, and basic cleaning products, including washing powder and washing-up liquid.

We also provide on-site benefits and legal advice from a qualified advisor present every Monday.

However, we believe that the most important thing we provide is friendship.


We are supported by 56 volunteers and £20,000 of financial donations annually. Our work would not be possible without our amazing volunteers giving their time and the financial support from a range of organisations and individuals. Find out how you can help support us through volunteering or donating
We are supported by a unique coalition of local faith-based and community organisations.

We have a particular need for regular committed volunteers to help load food deliveries into the church on Sundays between 3pm and 6pm


We believe that no one should go hungry. Unfortunately, every day people in the UK go without food because of low income, redundancy, debt, mental health problems, substance misuse or a wide range of other personal crises. By supplementing people's food stocks, we can help our clients experiencing crisis in Bow to cope in the short-term and hopefully support them move on to a more stable future.

Why do we need food banks? Millions of UK households are caught in a cost of living crisis. Since 2007, average food prices in the UK have risen 11%. Coupled with increasingly insecure employment, stagnating wages, and rising rents and energy prices, many UK households have been left struggling to feed themselves.

For many of our poorest households, things have been made considerably worse by the Government’s welfare reforms, and in particular changes to the housing benefits cap, the introduction of the ‘bedroom tax’, and the growing use of benefit sanctions.

Since their introduction in 2012, over 1.8 million people have had their benefits cut following sanctions. Although almost half (49.5%) of these cases have subsequently been overturned on appeal, millions of people have faced and continue to face temporary reductions or a complete loss of their benefits. In response to this crisis, the number of food banks in the UK has grown dramatically over the past five years, from just 70 in 2010 to more than 700 across the UK in 2015.

The Bow food bank is a vital lifeline for families, but sadly Universal Credit is only pushing more people through their doors who are having to ask for food that doesn’t need to be cooked—that shows they may not even be able to afford to run their cooker.
Cllr Joshua Peck, London Borough of Tower Hamlets