London food bank founder awarded £500 fuel voucher in national ‘community heroes’ competition

James Waterman, General Manager at Big Motoring World in Enfield was delighted to award Deepa Chauhan, Founder of Burnt Oak Community Food Bank in North London, a £500 fuel voucher this week, after she was named a runner up in a national ‘community heroes ‘ Competition run by the UK’s top ten car dealer.

Last month, Brits were encouraged to nominate ‘heroes’ who go above and beyond to help people in their local area, to receive a fuel voucher worth either £1,000 or £500.

The giveaway idea was inspired by Big Motoring World’s group CEO, Peter Waddell, who was sleeping rough on the streets for many years before building the brand over more than three decades. His first-hand experience of how difficult life can be led him to recognize the importance of giving back and helping others when possible.

More than 200 nominations were received during July and whittled down to five particularly deserving candidates, including Deepa.

A public vote then took place, and Deepa and Burnt Oak Community Food Bank received more than 19,000 votes, earning them the second-place prize in the giveaway.

Deepa has been feeding the homeless for ten years. She used to distribute whatever food provisions she could get hold of from the boot of her car, but when Covid hit, she immersed herself even further into her charity work after being inundated with calls and messages from people in need.

In March 2021, she set up a pilot food bank in Burnt Oak, which she describes as ‘an area with high levels of deprivation’. A year and five months later, just over 47,000 people have benefited from Burnt Oak Community Food Bank.

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Of the food bank’s mission and ethos, Deepa said: “We feed all age groups, the young, elderly, homeless, refugees, and every nationality – anyone who is in need of food in the community.

What I’ve done, anyone can do and it’s a concept that can be set up easily. We don’t judge, we’re just here to offer as much fresh food, personal hygiene items and day-to-day necessities as we can.

Just because someone’s going through hardship doesn’t mean they should have to rely on baked beans and other tinned items – at Burnt Oak Community Food Bank they get to select what they want; they get their dignity back and get to choose what they’re eating.”

On receipt of her £500 prize, Deepa said: “We are delighted to be voted runners up in the Big Motoring World Fuel Voucher giveaway. We had no idea so many people had written in about the work we do in Burnt Oak.

This is truly a blessing and the £500 will help us to distribute more emergency food parcels to the elderly and families suffering from food poverty. It will also help refuel the van we hire for the food bank and go towards purchasing items we are incredibly short of.

We have been doing this work since March 2021 and have served over 47,000 people and with more support we can reach out to an even greater number.

We’d like to thank all the volunteers and donors that have supported us since we began and convey our gratitude to all those who voted for us.”

You can find out more about Burnt Oak Community Food Bank on Facebook and Instagram.

London Herald