Hackney charity appeals for help to ‘bring joy over Christmas’
- Credit: Grey Hutton
A Hackney charity is appealing for help from the community to expand its services and treat residents who are struggling this Christmas.
Hackney Community Food Hub (HCFC), set up by Children with Voices in response to the pandemic, is hoping to raise £10,000 before Christmas to fund a permanent base in the heart of Hackney and extend its reach next year.
The team have raised over £8,000 so far.
Volunteer Grace Chapman recalled the “immediate spike” they saw in food demand when the pandemic struck, including from families who had never used a food bank. They have supported 600 people a week in Hackney since March, providing over 50,000 free meals.
Grace said: “It’s been totally relentless throughout the year, and it was incredible and so community driven and volunteer led, and it really felt like there was an energy behind it.”
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She said at the height of lockdown they were running seven hubs, seven days a week.
Demand for services has spiked again and they aim to put a children's gift in packages as well as provide everything a family needs for a Christmas dinner. Festive hampers for homeless people will include warm clothes and hygiene supplies.
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They are adding a card from a younger Hackney resident in each package for elderly recipients, and a card from older Hackney residents in their young people’s pamper package, which includes magazines, grooming and beauty supplies because, Grace said, “teenagers are getting forgotten about”.
HCFC’s community focus is to be a listening ear to anyone who needs support. Its volunteers advise on benefits and welfare, and deliver to local homeless hostels and nursing homes.
Grace said: “A permanent home would completely transform our way of being able to deliver those services.”
She praised the support of locals during the pandemic: “Everyone’s keen to invest in their communities after this year.
“For us to get that £10,000, to bring joy over Christmas, and actively seek out that permanent home would really give us a much-needed boost.”
You can donate to the hub’s fundraiser here at uk.gofundme.com/f/hackney-community-food-hub-christmas-appeal.