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Though new to homeless help in Ilford, BACA takes a pivotal role during COVID-19


British Asian Christian Association has been planning and preparing for a 'Meals for the Homeless' project in Ilford for at least two years, but raising finance became an onerous task which caused delay.

Our perseverance and belief that it was a calling from God has now been rewarded.  We now heading up three days of hot meals for the financially hard-up and homeless after a local Sikh Gurdwara, Singh Sabha London East based in Seven Kings, have offered the food they used to deliver themselves to us to distribute.  Moreover, Saint Peter's and Paul's Church on High Road Ilford who used to provide meals from the Cardinal Heenan are going to join us every Sunday at 1.30.

Both organisations had initially terminated their services because they were not sure how to cope with the evolving government guidance, but after observing our adapted provision and a conversation with the BACA, they are now both committed to working with us.  BACA's team will distribute the food received via the Gurdwara and our team will join with SS Peter's and Paul's for a collaborative event on Sundays.  All groups will use the current methodology designed by BACA, which complies with current COVOD-19 response requirements.

BACA are revolutionising the Foodbank provision locally by taking it onto the streets and already offers for food have come in from local people who have a desire to help, and we are reaching a much larger section of those financially hard-up in Ilford.

SS Peter's and Paul's school continue to send families who need help to us and we are now providing a daily food provision as Tesco Collier Row have decided to make us their one assigned charity, as others have no longer been arriving for collection.  Moreover, Fareshare who organise the food with Tesco have given us a few extra food days with Tesco Gallows Corner, for the period of the lockdown.  This is a short term arrangement to ensure food that would normally be picked up by other charities is not wasted.

Juliet Chowdhry, Trustee for the BACA, said:

"I have been cooking regular meals for the homeless every Thursday which though quite difficult because of the numbers has been extremely rewarding.

"When our volunteers began self-isolating the burden on me to cook alone was often difficult, especially with many other groups ceasing their operation.

"You can imagine therefore, that it has been somewhat of a relief that working with us two other groups are willing to work with us to restore the deficit.

"We look forward to working with both SS Peters and Paul's Church and the Seven Kings Gurdwara, and I get a week off.

"Once things are settled I will be looking to re-entering in the programme, to ensure there are at least 3 days on offer for those needing a nutritional meal. "

Hannah Chowdhry, who helped with our food bank today and will now be leading distribution at the Foodbank and 'Meals for the Homeless,' said:

"It was a pleasure to meet with all the regular clients at our foodbank and the many new ones. 

"I have not been to one since the lockdown.  

"I hope we are able to continue with this provision throughout the time of essential self-isolation, as many needy people have come to depend on us.

"We really need more food and other donations and I really encourage people with a desire to help, to think about how they can work with us."

You can donate food to BACA by calling and scheduling a time for a drop at our community centre - preferably from 11am - 12pm every day when we serve at our foodbank.  We are located at: Clementswood Community Centre, Connaught Road, Ilford, Essex, IG1 1RN.

Alternatively if you want to donate financially to help with the cost for all the travel, food for meals, disinfecting of premises, person and equipment and other associated costs of these two services, then please donate by clicking (here).

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