Ilford South MP joins Christian Charity in serving food and drink to over 40 local homeless people in Redbridge.
MP Sam Tarry used the time to encourage Redbridge’s most deprived residents and chose the time to celebrate the Coronation of HRH King Charles III.
Mr Tarry spoke with local homeless people who were captivated by his eloquence and gave him raucous applause.
Many homeless people could be seem having their picture taken with Mr Tarry, most having never met another politician during their time in homelessness.
Teenage volunteers Naomi (15 yrs) and Willow Chowdhry (12 yrs) met an MP for the first time and Willow interviewed him for BACA.
British Asian Christian Association, received a call from the Ilford South Member of Parliament’s office on Thursday 4th May. Mr Tarry had heard of the work that our group was doing for local people and felt moved by it, he wanted to see how we operated for himself and wanted an opportunity to serve homeless people, not just visit.
A visit to soup kitchens serving the homeless by an MP is rare, it’s not the most attractive place to go and homeless people, though they have the right to vote – very rarely do. So this was not a visit that was designed to garner votes, especially as there is no current election for the Ilford South seat. Mr Tarry’s office explained to BACA that the MP had heard of our work and has always been moved by the plight of the homeless and economically deprived. Poverty is one of the challenges that he is often outspoken about. We were informed that he wanted to help groups like ours that serve the often forgotten homeless community raise their profile, in order to garner more support.
MP Sam Tarry personally greet many homeless visitors after helping set up our Meals for the Needy project.
When Mr Tarry arrived we were shocked at how long he wanted to stay and how involved he wanted to be. Mr Tarry arrived very early just as we were setting things up for our regular visitors. He then encouraged all our volunteers which was very rewarding for them, he also engaged with some of the visitors to our ‘Meals for the Needy’ project. Mr Tarry then helped us set out the tables with our hot and cold meals and also remained to serve homeless and economically-challenged visitors. After about 30 minutes of serving food Mr Tarry was then interviewed by Willow, before spending more time with the homeless visitors before he departed. You can watch Mr Tarry’s interview by Willow Chowdhry below:
As you can imagine for our team of volunteers it was an exciting day, made even better by way of the fact that we have a truly endearing and polite MP who was surprisingly very laid back.
MP Sam Tarry, was asked what he felt about our service after experiencing it first hand:
“I think it’s amazing, I’ve really enjoyed being here .
“I’ve seen how passionate you all are.
“That your committed, that your all people that have been doing lot’s of community work over the years
“The people who are coming here have a real need, they know you by first name.
“I think that people in such difficult circumstances, know that there are people who care and are giving up their time to buy toiletries and groceries -that’s going to give people hope.”
You can watch the whole interview in the video above.
Mr Tarry confirmed that he will always campaign for genuinely affordable housing, he is also challenging the Government and Labour Party to continue to improve support services. Last week he brought the Shadow Minister for Housing to Redbridge to project Malachi to highlight the needs of the local homeless community.
Willow Chowdhry (12 yrs), one of our volunteers said:
“This was the first time I have met an MP, I was surprised at how friendly he was.
“The MP help us set up the food and other gifts for our regular visitors, it felt like he was part of the team.
“I got the chance to interview him for BACA and I liked his responses, it felt that like us he really wanted to help.
“Lot’s of homeless people were talking with him and taking pictures, he was kept busy, but it also made our visitors a lot more calm than usual.”
Juliet Chowdhry, Trustee for British Asian Christian Association, said:
“It was a blessing having a visit from our local MP.
“It illustrates how much impact 0ur work is having for him to designate our centre for a visit.
“He was a natural when volunteering with us, his engagement with our visitors enviable.
“We’ll have to get him back in one day, as he created a real community buzz and made our visitors feel special.”
MP Sam Tarry’s father was an Anglican vicar and at one point in his career served at St Andrew’s Church in Ilford, which now has arguably the largest Pakistani Christian Congregation in the UK. BACA have said they will connect the MP with the leader of that Church fellowship Mr Shaheen Zar, as he would like to meet with the local Pak-Christian diaspora.
A week earlier BACA welcomed a group of three missionaries who are studying at a Bible College in Belgium. Pastor Bryon of Eden Church sent the team to support ourMeals for the Needy project. Read more (here).
British Asian Christian Assocition, is a private donor funded group. We receive no grants from the government, local council or from the National Lottery. Food is often cooked by local businesses or community individuals but there are many associated costs in running a soup kitchen – it’s expensive! We could not afford to do this work without the support of people who want to help; if you have been moved by this account, you too can donate through various payment options listed (here).