Half of UK Muslims will struggle to provide enough food for their families this Ramadan, according to charity Islamic Relief, which warns that an estimated 1.6 million live in poverty and deprivation.
Compared to 18% of the general population, it’s estimated that 50% of the UK’s Muslim population live in poverty.
But among those trying to access help and support, some are being turned away from Islamic-compliant sustenance.
A Muslim caller revealed to a charity worker who provides welfare advice to single parents, that she’d enquired about halal food at their local food bank – only to be rejected.
The charity worker confirmed to HuffPost UK that the food bank user was told “to eat non-halal food if she was hungry”, instead of being given guidance on a service that could cater to her needs.
Halal food is food that is permissible by Islamic law, as defined in the Qur’an.
Meat must derive from a practitioner cutting the throat of healthy, conscious animals (as opposed to stunning them), with knowledge of the arteries to sever, so the animal experiences minimal suffering.
Non-halal food items include those derived from non-halal animal fat, any form of pork, and alcohol.
Even non-meat items can contain an ingredient that makes it haram (not permissible), such as gelatine, alcohol, or contamination with non-halal products.
For Muslim people seeking Islamic-compliant food donations, the options can be limited. Thankfully, the month of Ramadan usually sees amped up charitable efforts from both Muslim and non-Muslim organisations.
Many people will be making donations, with organisations setting up food banks all throughout the fasting month. For example, the Muslim Aid charity is running a Ramadan campaign, Feeding Is Believing, fundraising for those who need support both abroad – and closer to home.
Below are some organisations such as mosques, charities and food banks that are offering food and other donations through Ramadan and beyond.
JKN Outreach provides hot meals and drinks, clothing and toiletry essentials to users. It has an open door policy to anyone in need, operating every Sunday 1pm to 4:30pm by appointment only – call to book.
The Bradford food bank finder shows where food banks are operating in the area, although not all of them are halal.
The Noor E Huda Masjid in Yardley Wood offers a 24-hour food bank service. The mosque told HuffPost UK that while stocks are currently running low, it expects a delivery next week when services will resume as normal. Those in the Yardley Wood area can also donate as the mosque is accepting donations.
The Green Lane Masjid in Green Lane operates a food bank throughout the year, running every Wednesday from 2:45pm to 3:45pm and Saturday, 12-1pm. These food banks slots are also open to non-Muslims.
Bearded Broz, part of Salma Food Bank, is another emergency food bank service in the West Midlands, offering 24-hour support all through the year.
As Suffa Homeless charity is also offering iftars (they have a special event for those who have recently converted to Islam too).
Many London mosques will have facilities to pick up food donations, such as the East London Mosque (which is yet to reveal details of its food bank hours this year – in 2021, this was every Wednesday and Sunday). ELM is also offering community iftars throughout Ramadan.
Also in East London, Masjid Ebrahim in East Ham is distributing free daily iftars and dinners from 6pm to 7pm, available for collection only. The Bow Food Bank is offering halal meals in Bow and Bethnal Green.
The Al Muntada Food Bank based in Fulham is offering community iftars and suhoors all throughout Ramadan. It will be offering halal food every day in Ramadan at the centre in West London.
Sufra food bank and kitchen is open in Brent. Users will need a voucher to access it, and it has a few hubs open around London. In Hounslow, the charity Muslim Hands runs an Open Kitchen that gives out free food.
The year-round Salma Food Bank project, based in Smethwick, West Midlands, is now covering parts of West London, too. It has an open door policy to anyone in need of food with a warehouse open for collection of food on Monday to Fridays 9am till 6pm. Volunteers will also deliver to your doorstep – just give them a call on the number listed on their site.
Alhuda Food Bank operates every Sunday between 2-4pm at its Romford centre.
Swan charity is offering iftars and suhoor packs every day from their soup kitchens in Thornton Heath mosque, Croydon Mosque and the Refugee Hotel in Clapham.
AR Projects offers both food bank services and emergency parcels on Tuesdays, 8PM (at 89 London Rd, Croydon CR0 2RF) and Sundays- 7PM (at Agar Street, London, WC2N 4HN).
From today, until the end of April, the Ramadan Tent Project will be hosting Open Iftars at various locations around London.
Instagram page Muslim Mentalhealth also lists various organisers offering community iftars for those who don’t want to break their fasts alone.
Khizra Mosque in Manchester offers food donations, by appointment, and usually towards the end of the month. all between Monday to Friday, 9:30am to 4pm, to make an appointment.
A volunteer for the Stockport Food Bank, part of the Trussell Trust, confirmed to HuffPost that it offers halal and vegetarian options.
The charity Muslim Hands runs a five days a week Open Kitchen on Mansfield Road (and a seven day service at its London base in Hounslow).
Oxford Mutual Aid provides halal packages.
The Trussell Trust has a food bank finder which tells you where your nearest is
You can ask local food banks if they have halal offerings, or contact your nearest mosque or community centre.
Sikh gurdwaras also offer vegetarian meals around the country to people, regardless of their faith.
If you’re a service providing free halal food, email firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to this list.