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Purley Food Hub - November Update




Dear All,

Just under 4,000 meals delivered in October

Food for just under 4,000 meals was provided by the Food Hub to 443 clients and family members during October, the most in a single month since January.

October’s 3,987 meals took to more than 10,000 the total delivered in the last three months, and past 31,500 meals overall so far this year - with the busy months of November and December still to come.

As Stock Controller Louise Willmer said at our Annual General Meeting on 18th October: “In the last few weeks we have already had several sessions busier than last Christmas, which was our busiest period ever.”

And as the sessions on Saturday and Wednesday mornings have got busier, the Management Committee has begun recruiting an extra packer for each session, with the now four packers working in two teams of two. Also, we will be having an extra afternoon session on our last operating day before Christmas on 21st December.

Because of the increasing demand, we continue to be VERY GRATEFUL INDEED for each and every donation we receive from our donors and supporters, and especially this autumn to the local schools and churches who have donated their Harvest food collections. “We feel quite humbled by the generosity of our supporters, particularly in these difficult times,” says Louise.

Chair of Trustees Trevor Jones added at the AGM: “We have been blessed with fantastic support, and thanks to our donors’ generosity we have been able to support Purley and St Francis Food Stops, The Vine Food Bank, Croydon Nightwatch and Croydon Refugee Day Centre as well as two charity organisations in Thornton Heath.

“Money donations over the year have exceeded the cost of running the Food Hub, though we expect these to decrease over the coming year as donors really feel the pinch of rising food and energy costs.

“However, we are a food hub as well as a food bank and want to support others around us and not just ourselves. We will continue to do this for as long as we are able.”

Grateful thanks from St Francis and The Vine…

Expressing thanks at the Food Hub’s AGM for the food and money we have shared with them, Sam Pearson from St Francis Food Stop in Monks Hill, Selsdon, said: “Times are getting harder and people are really desperate. We now have 35-40 families a week using the Food Stop - around 150 people being fed. But while demand is going up, our stocks from FareShare have declined dramatically.”

And the Salvation Army’s Major Emma Spencer from The Vine Food Bank in New Addington, stated: “We too have seen the numbers go up significantly. We currently have 80-plus family units on our long-term list, including families with no recourse to public funds; we have also had a stream of ladies who have been trafficked.”

She added afterwards: “Our strap line is ‘More than a food bank’ as our intention is always to try and signpost people to services that can aid them in moving forward and not becoming reliant on the food bank. For some that works, for others life continues to be a struggle...”

…and from two Food Hub families

Two mothers texted their gratitude for their families’ food parcels from the Food Hub. One, the mum of two boys aged 16 and 10, said:

“Thank you so so much for such a huge parcel of help! My cupboards are stocked again when they were empty and the constant panic, about feeding my two bottomless pits of sons, has lessened a little! I cried when I saw it all! I just want you to know how appreciated you all are. We are very thankfull. Much love xxx”

The second mother, with two boys of seven and four, wrote:

“I'd just like to say a massive thank you for my delivery today! I was blown away by the things we received and my boys are so excited they get to have a hot chocolate today ðŸ˜„. You, and the people who donate, are very kind and when I can I will make sure I pay it forwards one day. God bless x”


Big crop of donations from schools and churches

Huge thanks to more than 30 schools, churches and others who donated Harvestfood to the Food Hub in October - please see the list under “THANK YOU” below.

The schools included Laleham Lea in Purley who dropped off hundreds of items donated by the school’s families. Head Teacher Karen Barry said: “Laleham Lea families are very generous with our charitable giving and we hope this donation helps to play a part in supporting the fantastic work that the Food Hub does for the local community.”

Thanking Laleham Lea and the other schools who have donated their Harvest food, Louise Willmer, Acting Chair of the Food Hub's Management Committee, said: “So far in 2022 we have delivered food for 30,000 meals to local families facing hardship who are often needing to choose between heating and eating. It is directly through the amazing support we receive from schools like Laleham Lea and churches, businesses, organisations and others, as well as many families and individuals that, together, we can make a real difference to people in real need.”

Louise also warmly thanked volunteer drivers John Broom and Phil Hartleywho delivered a large number of the school donations to our base at Purley United Reformed Church, and the church caretakers Mary and Lorraine who helped unload and store the many bags and boxes.

Pictured: Phil collected the food donated by Keston Primary School.


Squash, sugar and rice head our priority items

With our traditionally busiest months of November and December to come, small bottles of squash and 500g packets of sugar and long grain rice are among this month’s Top Ten priority items, along with tinned peas, carrots and potatoes, and tinned rice pudding.

Also listed are cartons of long life whole milk for clients' children andpackets of sweet biscuits.

Unisex shampoo and washing powder capsules/tablets are this month's most wanted non-food items.

Donations can be brought any Monday, Wednesday or Saturday morning between 9.00am and 12.00midday to our base at United Reformed Church next to Purley Hospital in he town centre.

On Mondays please come to the open white door at the far end of the church building; on Wednesdays and Saturdays come to the brown door on the hospital side of the building next to the car park exit. You can also drop off donations at any of our local in-store and roadside collection points listed here.

Or, in case of difficulty, Elizabeth Ash or one of her colleagues from Croydon Communities Consortium will kindly arrange to collect from your home. You can email Elizabeth at croydonneighbourhoods@gmail.com or text 07864 676088.


‘Really dire times’ for vulnerable local people

A stark warning about the “really dire times” being faced by vulnerable local people has been sounded by Julia Lee, who heads up the Food Hub’s Client Support Volunteers. Speaking at our AGM on 18th October, she said:

 Who would have thought we would be facing such frightening challenges: 80 per cent energy increase, 10 per cent inflation, deep cuts on the horizon.

These affect everyone, but the hardest hit are people on fixed incomes including basic state pension, those with disabilities or medical problems who can’t work, and parents with young children with no childcare support.

These people are on a cliff edge. It’s the worst situation many of us have seen in our lifetime, and over the next few months it’s going to get even harder. We are facing really dire times, with needs increasing while resources are reducing. 

Julia told how the Client Support team had helped over 150 clients in the past year, offering advice and signposting them to specialist agencies. Among several cases, she highlighted a client who had walked from Purley Downs Road to Purley Food Stop in Old Lodge Lane:

 She was exhausted. She has asthma and post traumatic stress3disorder, and has two children. She was £2,500 in debt with British Gas and had been switched to a prepayment meter. Although she was listed as a vulnerable, priority customer on their system, when her money ran out they said they couldn’t help.

I asked her for a photo of her meter reading and her monthly bank statement - her balance was 99p. Although I couldn’t make an emergency top-up online because of her type of meter, I am trying to find another organisation to help until her next Universal Credit payment comes through. 


Emergency energy top-up scheme being proposed

A proposal to set up an emergency energy top-up scheme for people in fuel crisis is being explored by the Food Hub and Purley & Kenley Churches Together andPurley Cross Centre.

Under the proposal, people on prepayment meters without enough money for their immediate gas and electricity needs would be referred by selected Ticket Partner agencies for an emergency top-up voucher.

They would also be signposted to support services to ensure they are getting all the benefits and other help they are entitled to.

A small working group is currently developing the proposal - full details shortly.


‘I never thought this could happen to me’

Rev’d Fiona Weaver, Vicar of St Mark’s and St Swithun’s Churches in Purley, is a volunteer driver with the Food Hub and a Trustee. In her Harvest Festival address at St Mark’s in October, she said:

 I know many of you have asked what happens to the donations you bring for Purley Food Hub. “I never thought this could happen to me” is something we hear from clients on a regular basis. At times, we can all tend to assume that food banks are for other people - for people “not like us”.

However, sometimes all our hard work and planning is simply not enough to get by. Debilitating illness, redundancy, relationship breakdown, bereavement, unexpected increases in living costs and much more can leave people vulnerable, in situations completely beyond their control.

Others find themselves in predicaments which, with the benefit of hindsight, may have been partially preventable; in reality, many more people’s situations are a complex, indistinguishable mixture of both.

At Harvest, God warns us against trying to draw (often impossible) distinctions between self-inflicted and circumstantial poverty. Instead, He invites us to remember the true source of all our (fragile) wealth and our (transitory) ability to produce it - Himself.

Moreover, in celebrating the source of all our material blessings, we are encouraged to give thanks for the rich, undeserved, unearned, extravagant grace offered freely to us all through Christ. Although identifying the causes of someone’s crisis will shape the form and duration of support the Food Hub may give them, it should never curtail our desire to express God’s generous heart. 

Pictured: Rev’d Fiona delivers the food donations from St David’s School’s Harvest Festival in October.


Two projects to bring Christmas cheer

Two Christmas schemes are being run again by Purley & Kenley Churches Together to benefit local families referred by the Food Hub’s Ticket Partners.

Come Dine with Jesus will provide an Aldi supermarket gift card to needy families so they can buy the ingredients for a Christmas meal, and Toys for Joy will give a new toy to children aged from 0-16.

To contribute to either project, you can donate online at www.give.net/20333146, specifying “Christmas Projects” in the reference box, or send a cheque made payable to “Purley Food Hub” (with “Christmas Projects” on the reverse) to Joanna Walker, Treasurer, Purley Food Hub, c/o Purley Baptist Church, Banstead Road, Purley CR8 3EA.

Or if you prefer to buy a toy yourself, you can take it to Purley Baptist Church from Sunday 20th to Friday 25th November: on the Sunday to a “Bring a Toy” event at the 9.30am and 11.15 services, or from Monday to Friday to the Church office between 10.00am - 3.00pm.

Help is needed with delivering the gift cards to clients early in December, and with Toys for Joy on Saturday 3rd December when parents will be picking up toys for their children. For more details, please contact Jean Ludlow on 07546 635295 or christmasprojects@pfoodhub.org.uk.


Donations received in October

We gratefully acknowledge the following recorded donations of food and toiletries, etc - including Harvest collections - from (among others):

17th Purley Beavers
CAMEO, Purley Baptist Church
Croydon Communities Consortium
Croydon & Sutton Amal Branch, CWU
Infohealth Pharmacy, Coulsdon
Inner Wheel, Purley
Jenny Brown via Asda
Number 9 The Nursery, Sanderstead
Women’s Circle, St Mark’s Church, Woodcote
WPA Neighbours (Woodco
te Park Avenue neighbourhood community), Purley

21 Bankside, Selsdon
432 Selsdon Road, Selsdon
Cumberlands, Kenley
East Coulsdon Residents Association, 6 Mead Way
Elmfield Vets, Sanderstead
Heathhurst Road, Sanderstead
Kendall Avenue South, Sanderstead
Riddlesdown Avenue, Purley

All Saints, Sanderstead
Christ Church, Purley
Coulsdon Methodist
Croham Road Baptist, South Croydon
Emmanuel, South Croydon
Grace Vineyard, Purley
Old Coulsdon Congregational
Purley Baptist
Purley United Reformed
Sanderstead Methodist
 St Aidan’s Catholic, Coulsdon
St Augustine’s, South Croydon

St Gertrude’s, South Croydon
St James, Riddlesdown

St John the Baptist, Purley
St John’s, Old Coulsdon
St Margaret’s, Carshalton
St Mark’s, Woodcote
St Mary’s, Old Coulsdon
St Mary’s, Sanderstead
Montpelier, South Croydon
St Peter’s, South Croydon
St Swithun’s, Purley

Beaumont Primary, Purley
Chipstead Valley Primary, Coulsdon
Christ Church C of E Primary, Purley
Coulsdon C of E Primary
Foresters Primary, Wallington
Keston Primary, Coulsdon
Laleham Lea, Purley
Oasis Academy Coulsdon (for their collection of hygiene products from National Hygiene Week)
Regina Coeli Catholic Primary, South Croydon
St David’s, Purley
The Hayes Primary, Kenley

Co-op, Hamsey Green

Morrisons, Caterham
Morrisons, Five Ways, Croydon
Sainsbury's, Warlingham
Sainsbury's Local, Purley
Waitrose, Coulsdon
Waitrose, Sanderstead

Youngsters from 17th Purley Beavers and Gill Hartley from East Coulsdon Residents Association with their recent donations.

AS WELL as all of these,
 we received equally generous donations from a large number of families and individuals - both those who signed our donations sheet and those who dropped off their bags and left quickly without signing!

Money donations included from:
£100 from Margaret Jolliffe
£100 from Caroline Morrell
£100 from Yewande Sobamowo
£100 from Terry Whittaker and friend Dilys
£150 from Clive Christensen
£160 from Whitethorn Avenue Methodist, Coulsdon
£264 from Woodcote High School, Coulsdon
£1,000 from Lewis Communications (with thanks to supporter Sara Neishabourifor nominating us)
£1,000 from St Mary’s Church, Sanderstead

Updated news about the Food Hub continues to be posted on our website at www.purleyfoodhub.net and on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.


FINALLY, in the words of Rev’d Fiona Weaver:

 This Harvest, please pray for the Food Hub’s clients who are travelling through the wilderness and have lost hope of coming out the other side.

Pray that through the food they receive, they will also taste something of God’s great love for them - a God who both sees their immediate need and who cares passionately about their future.

Pray also that God will help the Food Hub and our partner agencies keep our eyes fixed on the long-term destination of restoration, greater independence and security for the clients, even when circumstances seem overwhelming.

Pray for wisdom, creativity, perseverance and courage as we support people in their journeys towards this destination, no matter how long or circuitous the route. 


With best wishes and our considerable thanks to the whole FOOD HUB TEAM - volunteers, supporters, donors - for everyone’s commitment and support.


Steve Hunt - Admin Team
Purley Food Hub
Email: steve.purleyfoodhub@gmail.com
Website: www.purleyfoodhub.net

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