Mini food bank to pop up in Walthamstow

Virtual artist Sean Rodrigo and PL84U Al-Suffa team up for an innovative approach to food donations…

Miniature 3D-printed food banks are set to start popping up around Waltham Forest, thanks to a collaboration between a local resident and multi-faith charity PL84U Al-Suffa.

The first, designed loosely in the style of an East London pie and mash shop, will be located at 172 Winns Avenue, Walthamstow and is expected to arrive in February. It is built to hold around 35 cans – a new way for PL84U to receive donations, for those in need to access food fast, and for residents to drop off non-perishables.

Sean Rodrigo, the virtual artist working for free on the project, took on the initiative after renovating a Tiny Street Library in Walthamstow, alongside his partner Gail.

Arts organisations Wood Street Walls and Urban By Design contributed to the creation of the first mini food bank, which Sean tells the Echo took a total of two full weeks to make, plus hundreds of 3D printing hours at his studio.

Made of MDF, fully varnished and waterproofed, the intention is to hard-secure the mini food banks to fences. They’re also self-sustaining, with solar-powered lighting inside, and plans for an interior button that residents can push to notify PL84U when the box is full.

Sean’s hope is that the mini food bank and the intention is to will encourage people to donate, but also that those who aren’t usually struggling – but now are due to Covid-19 – will make use of his creation.

“I’m kind of hoping it will become a place where people will go with their kids, where they can go and deliver a can,” he shared. “It’s a nice way of doing something for the community that doesn’t cost a lot of money. It doesn’t require people to do much.”

Originally from Australia, Sean moved to the borough last year from elsewhere in London – and now plans to make a further three boxes over the coming months.

Future plans include a Wood Street mini food bank, one near Henry Maynard Primary School, plus a bank in the St James Street/Blackhorse Road area.

“This particular community is very good with grassroots projects – there are lots of great people and organisations who provide support,” he affirms. “It’s something that doesn’t exist in other parts of London, and even in my home country.”

To help fund the next few mini food banks, visit Sean’s GoFundMe page

For more on Sean’s virtual artistry, visit his official website