Every Foodbank is special. Each one is about so much more than food. It’s about creating a safe and welcoming environment where people do not feel shamed or anxious when they come in. Its about making sure you know why people need help and offering support to ensure that all available channels to get extra help are being utilised. 

Our clients are no different to any other foodbank user in Colchester. However, they have extra challenges blocking them from recovering from or escaping poverty.  

Immigration issues, often linked to loss of status or domestic abuse can mean clients have no recourse to public funds – no right to work or claim benefits while we work to make their stay regularised.  

Others get status but have to set up home from scratch, no relatives or friends to assist them and no understanding of the agencies and charities who could help. Recently a large number of Ukrainians have needed access to the foodbank because they were told benefits would be issued immediately but in reality some have spent 9 weeks in poverty before being able to access funds.  

Our Foodbank is called Food From Home – with love. That is because it endeavours to provide food that each client will recognise. The impact of that is hard to understand. 

However, imagine if you were in a strange country and destitute. You are offered food but you recognise none of the labelling or packaging or how to read the ingredients to check what it contains. And then imagine that you walk into a foodbank where you chose your items – no pre packed bags here – and you can browse the shelves, as if shopping. You find fresh yams and plantains and onions and chillies and there is tahini and bulgur or cassava flour. You know immediately that this is a place where people are trying to understand you. 

There are often clothes and toys, kitchen equipment and you are asked to make a list of items you need that they will try and get for you – through the goodwill of the lovely people of Colchester.  

It is not easy to find products that will be familiar to all our clients who come from 100 different countries – and clearly some staples we all use. Here is a list of what we most often need. 

Staple Foods

  • Tinned Tomatoes 
  • Tomato Puree
  • Tinned Fish
  • Pasta 
  • Rice 
  • Cereal
  • Bread
  • Instant Noodles
  • Tea Bags
  • Instant Coffee
  • Eggs 
  • Margarine 
  • Longlife Milk
  • Onions 
  • Garlic

Toiletries and Household Items 

  • Shampoo 
  • Conditioner
  • Disposable Razors
  • Shower Gel
  • Toothpaste 
  • Washing Up Liquid
  • Detergents
  • Nappies 
  • Toothbrushes
  • Sanitary Products

International Goods

  • Yam
  • Plantain
  • Maize Mill
  • Dried Fish
  • Fufu Flour
  • Dates
  • Vine Leaves
  • Chickpeas
  • Afro Hair- Products
  • Moisturiser