FOOD banks are sprouting up in the borough to help cash-strapped families struggling to make ends meet.

The pilot was launched last week by volunteers at the Feltham branch of the Hounslow Islamic Relief Association (HIRA) on Hounslow Road, where a spread was available to help families put food on the table.

Spearheading the project for the Feltham food bank are residents Dr Aisha Rahman of Feltham, and Faouzi Saffar of Bedfont, also a trustee for Feltham HIRA.

Dr Rahman said: "The official opening went really well but we need to raise awareness it is here for everyone in the borough and that will increase the number of people who will benefit from it. There are a lot of people who are suffering because of the economic crisis and as a community it is important to come together and give that bit of support. "The council are trying to help set up food banks because they feel something needs to be done but due to cut backs don't have the money to do it alone, so it is nice for local people to get involved and give up their time."

Following the pilot day Feltham HIRA have decided to hold a regular slot every Sunday from 5pm to 7pm.

The council is currently working with five voluntary groups in the borough and is calling on the generosity of residents and local businesses to support the growing number of food banks opening. Help is required in the form of donations of goods or through volunteering.

Meanwhile people in need are referred to one of the sites by their GP, police and social workers.

Councillor Ruth Cadbury, cabinet member for financial inclusion at the council, said: “With more and more people struggling to make ends meet, many families are faced with the prospect of not being able to put enough food on the table, and this is only going to get worse once the effects of changes to the benefits system start to take effect. Local charities are doing what they can to help, and we are supporting them as much as possible.

“If anyone is able to make help with either donations of food or their time to help support these groups, we’d love to hear from you so we can make sure help is getting where it is needed most.”

Call 020 8583 2208 or email