Big demand already for new Smethwick foodbank that offers more than just meals

Volunteers have hit the ground running with demand for their services even before the doors of a new foodbank opened.

Founders at the launch of Smethwick Foodbank, at Smethwick Cricket Club, (left-right) Narinder Kaur, Balwant Kaur, Dilagh Singh, councillor Parbinder Kaur, Harpreet Atwal, and Jasbir Singh Takhar..
Founders at the launch of Smethwick Foodbank, at Smethwick Cricket Club, (left-right) Narinder Kaur, Balwant Kaur, Dilagh Singh, councillor Parbinder Kaur, Harpreet Atwal, and Jasbir Singh Takhar..

The unique foodbank, based in the Apex Housing building at Smethwick Cricket Club, will be open round-the-clock and was officially opened during a ceremony attended by the Deputy Lord Lieutenant Dr Sakhawat Hussian, Sandwell Mayor councillor Mushtaq Hussain, Gurinder Singh and Sergeant Harvey Singh Rai, representing West Midlands Police.

As well as providing food for needy families the foodbank is set to become a community hub, offering such things as blood pressure checks and healthcare as well as helping with access to such things as housing repairs.

The foodbank has been set up by Sikh women as part of the Everyone Prosper SDB charity and will offer help to everyone, whatever their colour, creed and religion.

Councillor Parbinder Kaur, who represents Smethwick on Sandwell Council, and Narinder Kaur, a midwife with Sandwell & City Hospital NHS Trust, have helped get the charity foodbank established with donations from Apex Housing, Eastend Foods, Orbit International, Atwell Wealth, Morrison's in Willenhall and the proceeds of a harvest festival at Nishkam Primary School in Wolverhampton.

Also present at the opening was Jaz Takjar, chief executive officer of Apex Housing, who is also a volunteer with the charity.

Donations for the foodbank have also been received from staff at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital eye clinic and other fundraisers.

Narinder Kaur, aged 44, said: "The foodbank is unique because it will be open all hours to help everyone.

SANDWELL PIC MNA PIC DAVID HAMILTON PIC EXPRESS AND STAR 8/10/21 Attending the launch of Smethwick Foodbank, at Smethwick Cricket Club, founders and supporters including (front left-right) mayor of Sandwell consort Amar Mushtaq, deputy lieutenant Dr Sakhawat Hussain, councillor Parbinder Kaur, and mayor of Sandwell Mushtaq Hussain..

"It will be our fourth foodbank as we already have one in Wolverhampton, Aston and Handsworth Wood.

"Hunger does not discriminate and that is why the foodbank will be open to all and as we are professional healthcare workers we also hope to do holistic care.

"We have electricians on board and hope to help people access housing repairs.

"We will also offer a pathway to help mothers and provide health promotion.

"We are trying to adapt the foodbank to suit all needs and if people are lonely they will be able to come for food and talk to people.

"What is unusual is that our charity will try and meet people's needs within 24 hours and if someone gets to us before 8pm we will get back to that person with a food parcel the next day.

"So far we have 20 volunteer helpers and hope to recruit more in the future as we foresee hundreds of families needing our help as deprivation is growing and with people losing jobs mental health is also suffering."

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