Every year, the Rainham Foodbank helps hundreds of families in need put food on their tables. As demand for their services grows, we've been supporting the charity's vital work in the community through our ongoing volunteering programme.
The Rainham Foodbank, a member of the Trussell Trust food bank network, operates from a single upper floor of Mick Fury House in East London, serving a community suffering more than most from the effects of unemployment and the cost of living crisis.
In this unassuming building on the fringes of the old, industrial East End (not far from IE’s own operations centre), the charity stores and sorts thousands of food donations throughout the year prior to distributing them.
More Than Just a Food Bank
But their work is not just about providing emergency support for families in need.
The team at Rainham helps with advocacy and advice for those in crisis, as well as providing professional counselling, upskilling and reskilling services to those in need.
All their services are free at the point of delivery and cover many support programmes, from employment training schemes like their innovative sewing project to English language teaching for refugees.
A team of 20 volunteers and five full-time staff manage the busy centre, helping hundreds of families every year who find themselves in desperate need of help.
Volunteering with Rainham Foodbank at Christmas and Beyond
The need for the food bank's services has been growing throughout the year, but it's at Christmas that pressures on families in poverty can be felt the most - and when the charity itself can be overwhelmed with demand.
We began volunteering with the foodbank at Christmas in 2022, helping raise awareness of their cause and collecting food donations outside local supermarkets.
|Richard Tant, HR Manager from IE handing out leaflets at the local Tesco
We also help out in the warehouse at the Mick Fury Centre, packing food parcels and special Christmas hampers, helping families who would otherwise struggle to feed themselves over the festive period. This Christmas we were also joined by some of our amazing clients from Lloyds Bank helping to pack food parcels.
As the Christmas donations roll in, IE's volunteers help to keep donations moving through the system and into the hands of those in need.
But as Yolene Ganga told us, the IE team reflect and contribute to the energy and drive of the charity as a whole:
'The IE team really help with the huge challenge of moving donations through the system at Christmas, but they bring more than that to our charity. They give their time so willingly and selflessly, it's a joy to have them in the building.'
A Partnership Set to Last
Richard Tant, HR Manager at IE, says the team's volunteering with the foodbank has become a vital part of the company's charity work:
"IE is very much part of the community in Rainham, and it's important for us to help with the foodbank's mission to improve the lives of those most in need here. It's humbling to be a small part of this crucial work."
And the partnership is set to be a long-term commitment:
"The Christmas campaign for us is something that will never go away. It's always something that we're going to support."
Helping in Every Way We Can
As the charity continues to help families in need with ongoing counselling, training and reskilling programmes, we've also helped support the team in Rainham to deliver their services in other ways.
Richard told us:
"This year, IE has donated office chairs, filing cabinets and other pieces of furniture to the centre, ensuring the team can serve and counsel their clients more efficiently and effectively. We're always looking for new and practical ways to help and support the foodbank in their work throughout the year."
How Can Other Companies Help?
As the need for their services grows, the work of the Rainham Foodbank continues apace. As a result, the charity remains in constant need of all kinds of help from other companies and the general public.
There are many ways in which your business can give your time to support the Rainham foodbank:
- Sponsor or donate equipment to help with the day-to-day running of the foodbank
- Hold a team building day – volunteer with the charity and see how many food donations your team can sort and pack for people in crisis
- Ask your staff to share their workplace skills with the charity's volunteers to make them more effective
- Organise a fundraising event
- Run a food drive at your workplace
If your business wants to support the foodbank in any of these ways, you can contact the Rainham team to discuss how your company can help.
Alternatively, you can always donate money to the charity to support people in crisis and help end the need for food banks in the UK altogether.