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Case Study: Food Bank

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Food Banks on the Isle of Dogs and Poplar were the first in the community to raise the alarm about the challenges that the social services sector was experiencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The possibility of running out of food and having enough volunteers to continue to operate were large obstacles to overcome.

But a Coalition of partners came together to solve the problem of how to bring together a somewhat fragmented food bank system and centralize support to the people who need it most. To address the immediate need for emergency food assistance on the Isle of Dogs, Alpha Grove established the Alpha Grove Food Helpline (AGFH) to help vulnerable people in the community access emergency food support. The AGFH is a temporary hotline set up to provide safe and responsive support to people who need food assistance, including low-income families, and seniors or people with disabilities who are self-isolating or require access to prepared meals and other supports.

The Helpline is being supported in-kind by Canary Wharf Group (CWG). AG is hosting the helpline and providing Call Centre staff to manage and respond to incoming calls. In its first week the helpline processed over 200 calls and made referrals to food banks, food and prepared meal delivery, mailing out grocery gift cards, and warm hand-offs to other community services.

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Alpha Grove Call Centre volunteers answer incoming Food Helpline calls from home.

We feel that we have an important role to play in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic," says Ugo Ikokwu, Chair of the Alpha Grove Centre

"This initiative will help vulnerable people in our community locate emergency food services and other social supports. We hope our leadership and passion to help people stay safe and healthy at this time of crisis makes a meaningful and positive difference."

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