London: BACA have continued to serve over 40 homeless people a week with food, clothes and other gifts donated by the local community. Any gifts uncollected after 2 weeks are then packaged and sent to Pakistan via sea which takes a few months but is the cheapest option. Our transport of good-condition, unwanted items to Pakistan ensures that nothing is wasted.
Food is being made by our volunteers, members of the community, a restaurant and a church organisation and distributed three days a week. We also hold scheduled food banks for mothers with young children at SS Peters and Paul's School.
Rajeshri Chouhan one of our regular volunteers and all Meals for the Homeless Staff are all regularly tested aswell as our homeless clients to help prevent infection.
Since April we have been offering Lateral flow tests for homeless people at Clementswood Community Centre, a community centre we are responsible for creating but which is now under the auspices of another charity who allow us to use the centre for free, in regard of the strong community suport provided by our group. The test are conducted by Wesminster Drug Project who are also providing free counselling, drug rehabilitation and pathways to other services.
Michael one of our regular homeless visitors said:
"Its great to be able to get free COVID-19 testing at the Meals for Homeless Project.
"I don't feel welcome at other centres as people move away when they see what I look like.
"Having a service where I am being examined for my health and not my appearance or status is really special.
"Though it may not seem like it, I am worried about my health, but my situation makes it hard to get treatment.
"I am grateful to BACA and Westminster Drug project who have made me feel human again."
Homeless people are also helped into pathways towards vaccination and we hope to resume hepatology tests via the NHS again soon.
50 meals delivered to project Malachi (homeless units in Ilford)
Several news stories and documentaries have featured the rise in homelessness in the UK as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic (click here). The London Borough of Redbridge where we serve was heavily mentioned in these accounts and our work is definitely expanding in response to the concerns. One of the ways that we are now helping includes serving up to 50 meals in addition to the food we serve at our centre to project Malachi once a week. Meaning our overall reach is now over 90 homeless people a week.
Our work supporting the homeless of Redbridge and surrounding boroughs still has some costs, such as the cost for masks, food boxes, petrol for collections and deliveries, handsanitizer and the cost of shipping items to Pakistan. If you are moved by the details of our work and would like to donate to this work.
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