NEWS: Erdington’s Kashmiri community serve up 150 hot meals from local foodbank

Words by Adam Smith / Pics & video by Simon Lefevre

On Thursday 1 July, homeless people and Erdington residents living on the breadline were given much needed hot meals by the local Kashmiri community.

The giveaway was the first community event organised by Erdington Labour Party’s new BAME officer Naz Rasheed.

Local people in need of a good hearty hot meal flocked to Six Ways Baptist Church to receive chicken and rice, cake and essentials – coinciding with the longstanding Erdington Food Bank, which opens its doors every Thursday between noon and 2pm.

Naz Rasheed told Erdington Local: “We gave away 150 meals today and plan to do the same every month. I’m part of Erdington’s Kashmiri community and we wanted to share what we do so well – creating great food – with those who need it the most.

“A lot of people helped to ensure this was a success, including my husband, and through the Labour Party we want to bring people together in our community.”

Erdington MP Jack Dromey helped distribute the meals and spoke at length with several people who explained why they were in need of emergency provisions.

He said: “It is a sad commentary on 21st Century Britain that a country like ours needs a foodbank like this.

“It was a very moving experience watching people come and receive this food, one person, who I cannot forget, told me it will be their first hot meal in three weeks. There are a lot of people who are going hungry out there.

“We had people who were homeless who really needed help and they were met with loving admiration by the Kashmiri community who I would like to pay tribute to for such an outstanding display of generosity.”

Erdington Kashmiri Labour Party member Ansar Ali Khan helped package the meals for the foodbank.

He said: “We wanted to make a small difference, and if we can do this regularly then we know we are helping those who need help the most in Erdington.”

Between April 2020 and March 2121 Erdington Foodbank handed out 22,066 ‘three day emergency’ food parcels to local residents, all made and distributed from kitchens at Six Ways Baptist Church and George Road Church (which is open Tuesdays noon until 2pm).

Reverend Gerard Goshawk, who runs Erdington Foodbank on behalf of The Trussell Trust, said: “It was great to see the people who use our foodbank being offered hot meals by the Kashmiri community.

“We are here every week and there is a real need for what we provide.”

Jack Dromey MP and Naz Rasheed at Erdington Foodbank 01.06.21

For more on Erdington Foodbank, including how to both donate and receive aid, visit www.erdington.foodbank.org.uk

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