A community initiative run by local volunteers called Diwali Basket Brigade (DBB) took place on Saturday 3rd November 2018 across Birmingham. This first of its kind community effort involved over 150 community volunteers of all ages preparing and packing 331 food hampers and then personally delivering them to vulnerable and socially deprived households from all faiths and backgrounds in and around Birmingham ahead of Diwali.
The event organisers worked closely with charities, councils, schools and various other organisations to identify the recipient families. DBB raised over £6500 in donations from ordinary members of the community to support this project.
DBB founder Deepak Parekh said, “Diwali is a time of celebration and happiness. But unfortunately there are many people in our communities who for whatever reason don’t have much to cheer about.
“Some families struggle to make ends meet, others are simply feeling lonely or rejected by society. DBB is our small effort to support and spread the message of hope, happiness, and giving”.
The food hampers included vegetarian food items and comprised both perishable (e.g. fruit and vegetables), non- perishable food items (e.g. tinned soup, rice, pasta, pulses etc), a small Diwali lamp and a handmade Diwali card made by children. Basket contents were paid for through combination of funds raised and donations from local well known food suppliers including East Ends Foods Ltd and KTC Edibles Ltd.
Baskets were prepared by the volunteer team on the grounds of the Balaji Temple in Oldbury with the kind support of the temple management team. Surti Foods kindly sponsored and provided a wholesome lunch for all the volunteers.
The families to whom food hampers were delivered were nominated by various charities and community based organisations in and around West Midlands including Barnardos, Compass Support, B’ham City Council and Mind amongst others - this ensures that those who are in most need of support are directly benefiting from the initiative.