Delivery date: Wednesday 6 April
As the cost of living soars and families in Cambridge continue to struggle financially, Islamic Relief UK, Cambridge Central Mosque and Cambridge Sustainable Foods have teamed up to provide a substantial supply of dry foodstuffs to 80 vulnerable families during the holy month of Ramadan.
This is part of a wider initiative led by Islamic Relief UK involving partners across the country distributing thousands of food packs to those most in need.
In the past five years, Cambridge has been identified as the most unequal city in the United Kingdom, yet people tend not to think of poverty as an issue in Cambridge. The reality is that food poverty has been an issue long before the Covid-19 pandemic, which in turn has only made it worse. As the cost of living surges, families are now dealing with an additional struggle to provide food, heating and water for themselves and their children.
Cambridge has seen a stark rise in families needing financial assistance and help with food including the homeless, low-income families, those suffering from domestic abuse, asylum seekers and refugees who were already struggling to feed themselves and many prioritising eating or heating as they struggle to pay their bills.
Cambridge Central Mosque will be working with Cambridge Sustainable Food to help bring urgently needed relief to families. An experienced team of Cambridge Central Mosque’s volunteers will be helping to assemble the food packs to be delivered to local food hubs. 80 families in and around Cambridge will then be able to collect the food packs on Thursday 7 April.
The food packs will contain a combination of essential items such as canned soups, vegetables, oil, rice, pasta, lentils and pulses, salt, tinned tomatoes as well as items such as dates and ghee so families can enjoy their iftar meals during the holy month of Ramadan.
Muhammad Ashraf, Director of Cambridge Central Mosque said: “With the pandemic and the cost of living crisis affecting vulnerable families in our local community, initiatives such as this are sorely needed. We hope this goes some way to providing relief and spreading cheer to those in our society who need it most.
“We are grateful to work with organisations such as Islamic Relief UK and Cambridge Sustainable Food to fulfil our responsibility of looking after those who are in need, especially during the holy month of Ramadan.
Sam Dyer MBE, CEO of Cambridge Sustainable Food said: “We are so grateful for the support from Islamic Relief UK and the Cambridge Central Mosque community, enabling us to support Muslim families in need across Cambridge with food parcels this Ramadan.
“Food Insecurity has been a longstanding issue in Cambridge, one which has only been made worse by the Covid-19 pandemic and continues to be exacerbated by the current rise in cost of living. Many diverse households across the city continue to struggle to afford food and the food donated will go a long way to help hundreds of residents facing hardship in celebrating Ramadan.
“This shows what we can do when we work together to support some of the most disadvantaged in our city. Cambridge Sustainable Food CIC and the Food Poverty Alliance, will continue to work together to build a fairer and more sustainable food future for all in Cambridge. Support like this from the local community is invaluable when it comes to making this possible.”
Abdulla Almamun, UK Programmes Coordinator of Islamic Relief UK said: “Cambridge is often viewed as one of the more affluent areas in the UK, but poverty has no limits to where it reaches. With the increasing cost of living paired with the repercussions of the pandemic, families have been struggling twice as hard and accessing crisis support like food banks is the only way to get a meal for themselves and their children.
“Cambridge Central Mosque is playing a key role in the UK, not just as a leading light in sustainability and as a community hub, but also by supporting their local community and providing immediate help to those in need. We are proud to be working with the mosque to support families in this crucial time.”