St Matthews Church

East London pet food bank needs support

A pet food bank in east London set up by the founder in honour of her own rescue dog is in need of support.

Leonard’s Lunchbox was set up by solicitor Grace Hui at St Matthew’s Church in Bethnal Green last November.

It is aimed at helping both animals and people amidst the cost-of-living crisis, by providing a non-judgmental community space for people to come together.

Hui said: “No judgment, no questions. That is our ethos.”

Grace Hui with Leonard
Grace Hui with Leonard. Credit: Grace Hui

Until now, Hui has largely funded the project by herself, but as she sees the number of those needing the pet food bank grow, she has set up a Just Giving page for donations.  

She said: “This is good because people are beginning to know we are here, but it is also bad because it is highlighting an issue in society that will hopefully change over time.”

The pet food bank is open every Thursday from 6.30pm to 8.30pm, and is welcome to all.

Currently the bank has about 15 people who come every week and then expects about five to ten further people to just drop by.

Reverend Erin Clark offered Hui the space in her church for a pet food bank after experiencing many of those in need at human food banks asking for pet food, and at times prioritising this over food for themselves.

Grace Hui with Reverend Erin and her dog
Grace Hui with Reverend Erin and her dog. Credit: Grace Hui

The pet food bank is open to dogs, cats, guinea pigs, rabbits and even birds of any age or size.

Hui, who now has two more rescue dogs, a Chihuahua and a Rottweiler Akita cross, adopted Leonard in 2015.

Hui said: “Supporting and working with Leonard through his recovery from his abusive past taught me so much about love and commitment. Where there is a will, there is a way.”

Hui has two volunteers from the local community who help each week, allowing Hui to run out to the local Tesco to buy more food if necessary.

Sadly, Leonard passed away in January this year, however Hui said: “Leonard has inspired me to do this and he has inspired me to keep going.”

Featured image credit: St Matthew’s Church

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