How to get food


Our two foodbanks (at Bow and Bethnal Green) operate an open-door policy offering emergency help especially for people who may not meet the criteria for other foodbanks.

We do not ask for vouchers or referrals, all you need to do is come to the session, we do not turn people away empty handed.

If you’re visiting us for the first time, we will help you to register with us. Registering allows us to keep track of number of visitors and helps us plan ahead. We do not share any personal data with people outside of the charity without permission. If you’ve visited us before, we will ask you for your full name and post code so we can locate you in our database.

So that we can provide something to everyone who asks for help, we can only offer a limited number of items, about three to four days’ worth of food for a small family. For children living with you, we can offer some extra items in addition to the main bag.

  • If you are in crisis you can just turn up to a session, no referral is needed. We do not ask for ID and registration is very basic – we ask for your name, address and a few details, including why you need to access the foodbank. We also ask for the number of children (under 18) being looked after at home.
  • There is a limit of 12 visits per person, which applies at both Bow and Bethnal Green. Clients are offered 12 visits in total across both sites.
  • We provide each adult with a set number of items, and a small extra bag for their children. It is important that all adults in the house come to the session.
  • We are not able to offer home deliveries.
  • If you are self-isolating or unable to get to a session, you can ask a friend, neighbour or volunteer (e.g. from a mutual aid group in your neighbourhood) to collect for you. They will need to give your details. They will need to wait in the queue the same as other visitors.

The queues can be long, and we thank you for your patience while the volunteers prepare for the start of the session. We kindly ask you to respect the line and stay in order of arrival, as queue-jumping will not be tolerated.

You can choose between:

  • meat (non-halal) or
  • fish (halal friendly) or
  • vegetarian (halal friendly) or
  • ‘non-cook’ if you do not have access to cooking facilities

Occasionally we may be able to offer extra items such as nappies or hygiene products but only when stocks are available.

Shopping bags are provided, but we recommend that you bring a shopping trolley or backpack, if possible, to help you carry your food parcel home.

Although we are not currently subject to covid restrictions, we do ask that you remain aware of the risk and continue to wear a face-covering (if you can) and keep a safe distance from other people.