FAQ 1: Why can I only have 3 visits?

Bow Foodbank is a charity and sadly has to place some restrictions on the amount of food support that we can provide. Our food aid is intended for people who are in a crisis/emergency situation and so we have placed a limit of 3 visits for each person. If you live in Tower Hamlets we can increase the visits to 12 once we see proof of address. For those from outside the borough we can signpost or refer you to local food provision and advice in your area.

FAQ 2: Where can I get help so that I don’t have to come to a foodbank?

We like to be able to signpost people to help and advice that they may need to help them with their financial situation. See our ‘get other help’ pages, which we try to keep updated.

FAQ 3: What information do I need to give the foodbank to get food?

We try our best to make the process of coming to our foodbank as easy as possible for those who need our help. We do not ask for a referral or lots of detailed information about why you are asking for help. We understand how difficult it is to ask for help. We only ask for some basic details when you register or attend, such as the size of your household, your name and postcode, and some information about the reason for your attendance and a little about your age and ethnicity. This is to help us provide information to our funders and to make sure that we are reaching the people in our community who need our help the most. If you want more than three emergency visits, we will then ask for ID with proof of address. If you cannot provide any proof of address, such as those facing homelessness or live in a refuge, speak to our referrals desk. We are here to help.

FAQ 4: What sort of food do you give?

Each food bag consists of some staple items, such as pasta, rice, chickpeas, tinned tomatoes, tinned vegetables, cereal and milk. We offer canned meat or fish, and items which only need a kettle to heat in the non-cook bags. Each week clients can choose from items such as coffee, tea, cooking oil, toiletries – this varies from week to week. We also do our best to offer fresh fruit and vegetables. Other food varies depending on the type of donations that we receive. We try to provide the same items for every client but this is not always possible. Children’s bags contain extra items such as jam, peanut butter, rice pudding, custard and tinned fruit.

FAQ 5: I would like some help from the foodbank but I have an allergy. Do you cater for people with allergies?

Please make sure that you tell our volunteers when you pick up your bags. Our food is mainly packaged or canned and you should be able to tell from the ingredients list whether they are suitable for you.

FAQ 6: I do not have anywhere to cook food, can you still help me?

Bow Foodbank offers a non-cook bag for those who do not have cooking facilities.  Please tell the volunteers that you would like a non-cook bag.

FAQ 7: Can I have nappies and baby food?

From time to time we are able to give nappies and/or baby food. This depends on whether we have enough stock of donations to supply them.

If you have children under 4 you might be entitled to get baby milk and other food under the NHS Healthy Start scheme.  https://www.healthystart.nhs.uk

FAQ 8: I have a pet and cannot afford to feed them – can I have dog or cat food?

Occasionally we receive donations of pet food. However, this is not always guaranteed and is provided on a first come first serve basis when we have it.

FAQ 9: I feel embarrassed about having to ask for food because I can’t afford it.

We know that it can be difficult to ask for help. Our team are very welcoming and do not ask lots of questions about your situation. We want to make sure that there is no stigma attached to coming to us for help.

FAQ 10: How can I support the foodbank?

We welcome support from individuals, schools, church and faith groups, community groups and companies. We also have opportunities for volunteering. Please visit the Support Us page and the Volunteering page of this website.