Mohammed S Mamdani, Director of Sufra NW London, writes a lively Newsletter to supporters of the food bank and food growing project. His personal message is often humorous but beneath the humour lies anger at the injustice he sees through his work at Sufra.
Here is his latest message:
Forgive my sarcasm, but I can just imagine the Department for Work &
Pensions’ delight, three weeks into the latest round of benefit cuts.
Cuts that will save mere pennies in the big scheme of things and
penalise thousands of children with a life of poverty.
So what's it all about this time round? Until recently low-income
families have received child tax credits to support the upbringing of a
new generation. Now that we’re chucking out EU migrants, we desperately
need to start reproducing so that we have a home-grown crop of
economically active workers to pay for the social care of our elderly
However, as of 6 April, families will only receive tax credits for their
first 2 children, with no regard for any additional children in the
family. It's a kind of state-sponsored baby sanction! The only
consolation is that victims of rape will be entitled to additional tax
credits - but you’re going to have to prove it!
I can just hear you sniggering. Most rape victims can hardly fathom
reporting their violation to the police. Now you've got to tell the
random dude who sits in the job centre too.
It's a double whammy since Her Majesty has also cut widows allowance
(and the accompanying payments to a child who has suffered the
bereavement of a parent). So, when your darling suffers a heart attack
and drops down dead, don't grieve for too long. Wipe away those tears
and be in work by Monday morning.
But why should British tax-payers pay for the upkeep of other people’s children?
Because children who grow up in poverty perform less well in school and
have a lower life expectancy than their peers. And with the NHS crisis
and a new funding formula for schools that will result in teacher
redundancies, it will end up costing the nation more to deal with in the
Let’s not forget that hundreds of thousands of WORKING
rely on child tax credits. Parents who slog day and night, often in
service industries or low skilled work. With almost all their wages
covering the rent, child tax credits put food on the table.
And why are we subsidising working parents? So that we can continue to
enjoy cheap take-outs, cheap clothing and cheap entertainment. Since we
won’t pay more for goods and services, employers refuse to pay a
sustainable, living wage. It is impossible to support a family, whilst
earning the minimum wage (which equates to an annual income of £13,650).
We’re paying for other people’s children, because we’re screwing them
over in the work-place.
I accept that some parents are ‘irresponsible’ in their life-style
choices (they are far fewer than the tabloids would make us believe).
But why should we punish their children?
OK, I’ve got that off my chest now.
URGENT FOOD APPEAL
As you can imagine, demand at the Food Bank has skyrocketed. Looking
around our storage facility, all you see are empty shelves. We’re
surviving from one week to another.
I have no shame in dropping to my knees and begging you for your
generous food donations. We need practically everything: long-life milk,
tea (we’ve never been short on tea before!), biscuits, juice, rice,
jam, cereal, instant noodles, soup, tinned fish, fruit and vegetables,
toiletries, nappies… you get the drift.
The only items WE DON’T NEED are pasta (but yes to pasta sauce), baked beans and tinned chick peas.
If you can’t be bothered to head down to Lidl, like me, you can place an online order for delivery to us, or make a donation here
towards our food budget. We promise that any donation made on this page
will be restricted to food bank supplies. No admin costs.
VOLUNTEERS FOR SUPERMARKET COLLECTION
We’ve scheduled two emergency food collections at local supermarkets,
but we need volunteers who can help for a few hours on the day to
distribute ‘shopping lists’ to guests, smile profusely and guilt them
into making a food donation at the end of their shop.
Saturday/Sunday 13/14 May 2017
Sainsbury’s Willesden Green – Register here
Saturday/Sunday 20/21 May 2017
Waitrose Brent Cross – Register here
Fahim and Saba, who will oversee the collections, will be working across
two weekends. That’s 19 days in a row without a day off. So please pity
them, and help out.
Also, our youth volunteers, who normally assist with our supermarket
collections, are all revising for exams, so it’s time for the oldies to
INTERFAITH FOOD WASTE ‘IFTAR’
To mark Ramadan, we would like to invite members of the community to an
interfaith ‘food-waste’ iftar (the fast-breaking meal at sunset) at
Sufra NW London on Saturday 2 June from 8:00pm.
The event will be an opportunity to see our work first hand, and
celebrate our strong relationship with all of North-West London’s faith
communities who sustain the food bank operation. Faith leaders from all
denominations will also share their faith-inspired, ethical perspectives
on food waste.
The event will conclude with a meal prepared entirely from food waste! And it’s free to attend. You can register here
We need to borrow a cement mixer for a couple of weeks on the garden, so
if you have one handy (like we all do), please get in touch.