Well over 15,000 pre-Christmas donations received – in fact so many that we’re still counting!

Words cannot adequately convey our MASSIVE THANKS to everyone for the mountain of food, toiletries and money donations that we received at the Food Hub in the run-up to Christmas.

Normally we publish the total number of donations received at the end of each month. But the December total was so high – at least 15,000 accounted for so far – that we are still counting.

On each Monday, Wednesday and Saturday morning, deliveries of staple items like milk and tinned meat and festive items like Christmas biscuits and children’s chocolate treats and desserts just kept on arriving. Our two store rooms at Purley United Reformed Church were full to overflowing and donations ended up being stacked on the pews in the church sanctuary.

The donations – big and small alike, from regular and many new supporters – included our largest single delivery to date: 5,000 food and toiletry items from Croydon plumbing and building merchants Harris & Bailey.

Earlier we had also received a donation almost as big from Riddlesdown Collegiate in Honister Heights, Purley. Their donation of some 5,000 items, packed into more than 70 boxes and large bags, filled a van and two estate cars when our volunteers collected them on 30th November.

Harris & Bailey’s Deputy Managing Director, Neville Horsfield, told us: “Usually at Christmas we give some of our top customers a Christmas hamper. This year, with the current climate, we decided to donate to a food bank. As you guys do a tremendous job we all felt that you were worthy recipients – what you do is outstanding.

“I met with Chris Martin, the manager at Sainsbury’s Selsdon, regarding items you specifically asked for and he and his team arranged the ordering. We were able to collect from their goods-in bay and they let us use their cages for us to deliver to you.”

The Riddlesdown Collegiate collection was masterminded by student Abbie with her friend Taryn. Abbie said: “Having spent a day volunteering with the sorting team at the Food Hub, we had seen first-hand the emergency food packages put together to help those in need. Everyone in school was eager to help, with us providing an assembly and boxes to all students, and the response we got was amazing. We are immensely proud of everyone’s generosity.”

We were also blessed with amazing support from local community groups. Among these were Purley Bowls Club, who have nominated the Food Hub as their Captains’ Charity for 2023 and already donated almost £500 received from collections; Cantilena Ladies Choir based at the Methodist Church in Limpsfield Road, Sanderstead, who asked guests at their Christmas concert to bring food donations; and Striders of Croydon running club, who held a fun run through central London on 17th December to see the Christmas lights and bring donations to support the Food Hub.

Alongside these were countless donations from groups, families and individuals. These included residents and staff at Rokewood Court care home, Kenley, who brought donations from their reverse Advent calendar, and young Food Hub supporter Teddy, who asked guests to his seventh birthday party to bring food for the Food Hub instead of presents. Mum Kristine, who delivered the donations to us with Teddy, said: “We were completely overwhelmed by their generosity.”

So are we! We can never stress enough that we are truly grateful for each and every single tin/packet/jar that we receive. Not only do they provide a vital lifeline for our clients, they also enable us to share donations with our partner organisations like Purley and Selsdon Food Stops, The Vine food bank in New Addington and Croydon Nightwatch.

There’s no way we could operate without you, and you truly made Christmas 2022 one to remember. We thank and salute you all.

Harris & Bailey delivery, Dec 2022
The Harris & Bailey team unload some of the 5,000 items from their delivery lorry.
H&B’s team with some of the Food Hub team.
Food Hub stores at Purley URC were full to overflowing, so pews were called into service.
Abbie (centre, in pink top) with fellow students at Riddlesdown Collegiate
Cantilena Ladies Choir from Sanderstead Methodist Church
Residents Pritam, Joyce and Veronica and staff from Rokewood Court care home, Kenley.
Seven-year-old Teddy's birthday gift to the Food Hub