London Street Food Bank: ‘No-one Goes Hungry In London’

Food boxes

Food banks provide emergency food to those in need and are springing up all over the UK. But there’s one remarkable outfit operating in London on a shoestring budget, dependent on donations and volunteers on the street, with an incredibly practical, down-to-earth and realistic attitude shaping the vital service they provide.

London Street Food Bank volunteers collect unwanted and unsold food daily from shops in Westminster, the City, Hackney and Islington and try to get it to places where it can be useful. That could be direct to people on the streets gathering at the food bank or to projects working with vulnerable people, like the Hanbury Project in Shoreditch.

In their own words:

LSF serves up 100+ items of food on the street daily – which saves London councils money in waste pickups of food and dead starved bodies and companies money also for special coloured food waste bags. It is run by one ex-homeless, and two currently homeless distributors, along with a wider membership of varying interest in it. Also: We pick up after ourselves and others. Like wombles trying. Cleaning as we go.

The food bank knows its operating model is a challenge for grant-givers who want neat paperwork, business plans and committee meetings. They are upfront about their bad business model (use volunteers, give food away) and realise that using homeless volunteers (the best way to get food from LSF is to help move it around) means the paper trail is often non-existent.

But they know there’s demand for what they do, and they want to expand. They’d like to have a city base with a street window, or perhaps set up a free indoor market. It would be nice if the hugely dedicated individuals running the bank could could get paid for it and be able to properly focus on making the whole thing bigger and better. But all that needs someone to tackle the admin and formalise the fundraising. They were previously refused charity status for having an income of less than £5,000 so currently they operate as a not-for-profit sole tradership and are totally open about their accounts. In fact, they just published their ‘Current Assets Statement for Feb 2012‘ — the ‘executive summary’ says it all.

Could you help London Street Food Bank make sure ‘no-one goes hungry in London’ with donations of food, items from their Amazon wishlist, volunteer time, admin or charity expertise, storage space, or a big chunk of money? Email LondonStreetFoodBank@gmail.com.

Find out more at www.londonfoodbank.co.uk and read the blog, like them on Facebook or follow @LDNfoodbank on Twitter and help spread the word.

Other food bank projects in London:

The Trussell Trust has foodbanks in Haringey, Hillingdon, Islington, Kingston, Norwood, Peckham, Tower Hamlets, Vauxhall, Westminster and Wimbledon, with foodbanks in development in Camden, Dagenham, Edmonton, Hackney, North Enfield, Waterloo, Woolwich. Trussell Trust food is largely donated by individuals and operated through church partners.

FareShare operates out of Bermondsey and Park Royal and works with community partners to distribute food boxes.

Foodcycle redirects food thrown out by retailers and turns it into nutritious meals, served in community centres and cafes (Station House, N4 and Pie in the Sky, Bromley by Bow) at an affordable price (e.g. main course £2.50).

Find out more: Listen to BBC Radio4′s Food Programme on Foodbanks.

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Article by Lindsey Clarke | 3,248 Articles | View Profile

  • Pelagie

    Thank you for this article, I think it’s a great initiative and I want to get involved.

  • http://twitter.com/LDNFoodBank LondonStreetFoodBank

    Hiya! Anyone wanting to get involved must start with a bit of food collection duties! Pls see http://www.londonfoodbank.co.uk and email londonstreetfoodbank@gmail.com.  Cheers to Londonist for covering us and our urbane activites! Jon@LSF . 

  • hungary

    Hi things are a bit rough at the moment and havent eaten in a few days, i was wondering if you could point me in the direction of some place where i could maybe get something to eat for free

    • London Street FoodBank

      The links right there in the article dude. No use if your not in London though. Yet.

  • HungryInHackney

    Yeah but try and actually find out any info on where to get said food packages and the internet comes up short, sooo much info for people who want to help but none for who actually need it.

  • MsReid

    I never know about food banks until I heard about it on the news recently. I so need the sevice.

  • Andie

    Great idea

  • john

    If you want free food you should contact
    Gist m&s
    At hemel Hempstead

    They throw away a absolutely criminal. Amount of fresh food on a daily basis
    Approx 5000 a day in london alone
    And use it for animal feed
    Call marks snd spensers and ask them why they waste so much food

  • J

    Hi I am 25 and am broke I haven’t eaten for two days and have no money can anybody help

  • ace

    can u tell me where i can get food from? as i homeless in london