Newham charity hands out 500 food parcels to 'vulnerable' international students struggling with Covid-19
- Credit: Islamic Relief UK
"Vulnerable" international students struggling in the Covid-19 pandemic have been thrown a "lifeline" by two charities.
Newham Community Project and Islamic Relief UK handed out tinned tomatoes, lentils and chickpeas to more than 700 students on Saturday, May 8.
The portions of items, which included tea bags and biscuits, were also given to almost 70 students with families. In total, 500 parcels were distributed.
Abdulla Almamun, UK programmes coordinator for Islamic Relief UK, said: "We saw huge queues this weekend of vulnerable families in urgent need of food in Newham and we shouldn't be seeing this in the UK.
"Covid-19 has driven families deeper into poverty and international students who are not entitled to any financial support have been hard hit.
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"The Newham Community Project is a lifeline for desperate families and is doing amazing work during this very difficult time. Islamic Relief UK is proud to have partnered with the project to help some of the most vulnerable in London."
According to the charities, many of the students lost part-time jobs due to the pandemic and have not been entitled to any financial help from the government.
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This has made paying for food, rent and university fees a "huge struggle".
Islamic Relief UK hopes the food will provide some of the borough's Muslim families a more comfortable Eid al-Fitr, which is a festival marking the end of Ramadan.
This initiative makes up one of three distributions with Islamic Relief UK's partners over the last few days. Others were held at Masjid Al Falaah mosque in Birmingham and in Liverpool via Liverpool FC and mosques in the city.
Elyas Ismail, an organiser from Newham Community Project, said: "We have been helping international students from our food bank for the past year since the first lockdown.
"A lot of them have lost their work, they rely on part-time work to pay for fees for university, rent and other costs and are not entitled to any government help or financial support, so we had to step in. We now support 2,500 people a week.
"We have had fantastic support from Islamic relief UK to help distribute food. Without the support from them and other charities, it would be very difficult to carry on."