Juliet Chowdhry delivering food to Malachi project on New Years Eve due to COVID-19 infection for our main volunteer Rajeshri Chouhan.
Many of our regular readers are very aware of our work serving food to the homeless, asylum seekers and refugees and economically deprived in Ilford.
We have now be operating for well over a year. During the pandemic lockdown we became the largest foodbank and meals for the homeless project in our Borough. At the time serving up to 65 people a day. Read more (here)
Last week we celebrated Christmas with those that came with music, gifts, crackers, cards, food and prayers (click here). We had more volunteers than ever before including two students who are working towards their Duke of Edinburgh Awards. Shadrack McCubbins is working towards his Silver Award and Naomi Chowdhry is working towards her bronze award. We have helped a total of 8 Duke of Edinburgh Award participants achieve the volunteering section so far and hope this number increases in 2022.
Our volunteers generally find working at the Meals for the Homeless project extremely rewarding. They are helping some of the most needy people get necessary daily nutrition and most of our clients are extremely grateful. Whereas when we first started some of those with addictions could exhibit behavioural problems are stricter disciplinary code and improved conflict management training has ensured that we have a very seamless service now with very rare problems from our clientele.
However, the two day holiday on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day has meant that yesterday 30th December (6 visitors) and today 31st December (15 visitors) less people than normal attended our meal service. None of our food was wasted however as through our partnership with the Malachi Project a local homeless residency programme we managed to transfer our excess food there in time for distribution to the homeless living there.
We have been struggling a bit over the last few weeks as Rajeshri Chouhan our main volunteer has caught COVID-19. However, Juliet Chowdhry has stepped in to deliver, collect and serve food as per our usual programme as they have not been in contact for 10 days. Please pray for the service as our volunteers enter an environment where the virus is spreading quite vigorously. Rajeshri is 50 years old has received both vaccines but did not have a booster and has had all the worst symptoms, including difficult breathing, coughing and a very high temperature. She will be put on a series of antibiotics and Juliet is helping her with food deliveries to her home. No one else associated with our Meals for the Homeless centre has registered positive though test have been taken. It would seem that she contracted the virus during the one week we were not serving after meeting her sisters for Christmas. Please keep her in your prayers.
We are only one of two of the regular meals projects that have been serving this week. Most of the others only feed for one day a week and we are back for three days a week. Those we spoke with have expressed their thanks for our return as they were finding it hard to obtain food to eat.
Tomorrow we will be celebrating the new year with our regular visitors and will be praying for the new year with them. We hope to invite Pastor Andrew Willis from Ilford High Road Baptist church who will also provide some private prayer for those who desire it.
Now as we enter into 2022 we hope that it will be a better year for all and that international Governments, charities, agencies and pharmaceutical companies are able to find a solution to COVID-19 that finally helps restore our freedoms and safety. Till then we continue to serve the wonderful homeless, refugee and economically-challenged guests who rely on our food help.
Our Meals for the Homeless Project exists because of all the help, prayers and financial support we have received from all of you. Without it we simply would not have survived this long and we appreciate all you have done for us in 2021. We are now are entering 2022 and we hope with your help to have grown beyond the limitations of this year, with a greater and more effective response for our guests. If you can help financially you can donate (here), if you would like to offer warm clothes or other support please call us on 020 8500 1192 or email email@example.com so that we can coordinate with you.