ISRA UK (ISRA) is a charity organisation focused on fighting poverty worldwide. Their work in Birmingham is focused on providing social and food support to vulnerable people.In addition to providing a community for people to socialise in, ISRA had also ran weekly coffee mornings, community events and cooking clubs for their members. The majority of people ISRA support
across Birmingham are women, mothers and their young children and families.
ISRA UK became a FareShare Midlands food member group in 2019 and the food delivered was used during the cooking club and coffee mornings. Kheira, ISRA UK’s Community and Fundraising Officer says, “we get a lot of fresh produce in our deliveries as well as tinned fruit and veg, sweets and chocolates. We made some great dishes in our cooking clubs, like macaroni cheese with broccoli which was new, and mango smoothies. It’s a lovely variety and helps a lot, particularly the cakes as they always put a smile on peoples face!”.
Due to the pandemic, the social events and clubs have had to come to a halt, but the organisation have found a brilliant way around it - creating a virtual cooking club! Using apps on their phones, the community is able to stay engaged with ISRA and group calls enable the cooking club and coffee morning socials to continue. Kheira says, “it’s lovely that our members are still able to stay in contact this way, sometimes it’s a recipe and other times it’s a simple positive quote, but having the WhatsApp
groups are really useful during these times”. As the group were no longer able to cook with their FareShare food, the organisation became a food bank in response to the pandemic.
By becoming a FareShare member group, ISRA UK are able to reinvest the majority of their funding or donations back into their organisation as well as purchasing additional items such as personal hygiene products for their beneficiaries.
Some of the feedback given to Kheira regarding the food received through the deliveries include, “two lovely people come in every week and one of them actually knows we get a FareShare food delivery every Wednesday, so he comes in especially on that day. He’s always looking forward to getting his bread and vegetables. The other gentlemen I met during our food bank service, I had offered him a cake as part of his food package, he was so pleased by my offer and he said he couldn’t afford to buy
treats like that so it really made his day”.
Kheira went on to explain the shock after seeing the demand rise during the pandemic, she says, “You’d never expect it to happen here in this country, but it is happening and it’s very very worrying. It is really lovely though, that the community organisations are coming together and help each other and we’re glad that we can support so many”. ISRA have distributed over 600 food parcels that have helped to catered for over 1500. The organisation plans to continue their food support for their communities.