What is food poverty?



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The Department of Health describes food poverty as, The inability to afford, or to have access to, food to make up a healthy diet.”

There are many reasons why people are unable to afford to buy food, let alone healthy food. These can range from being on a low income, zero hours contracts, waiting for a Universal Credit claim to be paid, benefit sanctions, being in debt and living costs being more than the household income.

Bow Foodbank is a member of IFAN, the Independent Food Aid Network, an umbrella organisation made up of over 500 independent foodbanks. IFAN aims to ensure good food is accessible to all, as well as campaigning to end the need for foodbanks in a country without the need for charitable food aid.

Our volunteer fixing food donations
Our volunteer fixing food donations

The clients at Bow and Bethnal Green food banks each have an individual story of how they came to use our services and why they are in need of food aid. We aim to offer a warm welcome to anyone who comes to see us, regardless of why they are in need.

Tower Hamlets is an area of increasing wealth and opportunity, with many of the world’s great financial institutions based in our borough. At the same time, there are many people living here who are in need of our help, for all the reasons stated above. Since its foundation in 2014 Bow Foodbank has sought to offer an immediate solution to emergency food need. However, we recognise that the problem of food poverty is more complex and hard to solve than the answers we are currently able to offer.

We seek to be part of the conversation as to how food poverty can be alleviated, challenged and eventually eradicated in our borough and ultimately across the whole country.