First Love Blog
From March 2020, we aim to inspire and uplift with every post we write. The First Love blog has always been about documenting the support of the community, our success stories and the like – but we are living in a very testing time right now. We hope you can come here to unwind, be inspired, and leave wanting to create positive change. We hope you enjoy!
This is Christmas,
It starts before the hampers are ever created,
It’s when a nominated person receives an invite
It’s local organisations pulling together to donate items that make all the difference to someone in crisis.
It’s schools taking on the challenge to create Christmas cards for every attendee
It’s fundraising events held at offices and within communities, raising money for gift cards for all.
It’s frenetic and exciting as we coordinate the event that has the whole community involved!
As we put together collection packs, organise volunteers, pack hampers, arrange pickups and respond to enquiries, we know…
It’s more than the gift of a hamper.
It’s a day that someone who has experienced crisis, can experience a Christmas they will never forget.
This is Christmas. Love at Christmas.
Here at First Love Foundation we believe it is important to not only bring about change at an individual and local level but also on a national level.
Last year we were invited to contribute to the All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Hunger in the UK. The findings were published in a report in December 2014: Feeding Britain – a strategy for zero hunger in England, Wales, Scotland & Northern Ireland. Part of our submission included this report from our Foodbank Manager:
“There’s a service that we provide because we have to do it, and a service we’d like to provide… [Benefit-related problems are] a big portion of our work at the moment… If we could get rid of all of that, and everyone’s benefits are going smoothly and those who need help can go to the advice centre, we are then dealing with the other set of people who are there because of circumstances – lack of qualifications, mental health, family circumstances. We’d like to provide them with food when they first come in but then get them into programmes of supported volunteering, skills work and building them up to live sustainable lives. But right now we’ve got to focus on making sure people have got money in the bank, because people have zero pounds.”
One of the recommendations of the report was for all foodbanks across the UK to co-locate welfare benefits, debt advice and other services in the foodbanks, as in our Advice & Support project. As we have found, this approach works to tackle some of the more deep-seated causes of hunger, beyond the immediate crisis.
Since September we have been part of the Feeding Britain Working Party – a group of NGOs and charities, including Child Poverty Action Group, Church Action on Poverty and Oxfam, reviewing whether the recommendations of the Feeding Britain report were implemented.
The report can be downloaded here.
Sharing love and hope with people facing crisis at Christmas.
For many of us, Christmas is a time of joy and celebration. But for those facing crisis or struggling on a low income, Christmas can become a time of upset and anxiety as winter closes in and bills for heating rise.
“I don’t put up any decorations. I don’t even talk about Christmas… because then the kids will want presents, and I can’t afford any.”
Liz, mum of two
Since 2012, we have run a Christmas Hamper Appeal – a community effort to enable families and individuals in Tower Hamlets to enjoy the festive season together. So people like Liz have something to look forward to over Christmas. This year, our Christmas Hamper Appeal, Love at Christmas, will provide food hampers for over 400 people facing crisis in Tower Hamlets. Hampers will be given out at our big Love at Christmas Event where we’ll have a Christmas lunch, entertainment, gifts for all the families and of course Christmas Hampers! This would not be possible without the support of our community of schools, churches, businesses and individuals who have already donated most of the food we will need.
How you can help
To help make Christmas a time of joy and celebration, we would love to give every family and individual, who has been nominated to recieve a hamper, a gift card and the opportunity to go out for a meal – a rare treat for those struggling on a low income or facing crisis. Donate today to help bring joy and hope this Christmas and beyond.
What your donation would buy
£15 – buy a high street gift card, so that the adults nominated can buy something special for themselves
£25 would enable a couple, a young person living in a hostel or an individual to go out for a meal with a friend.
£50 would enable a family to go out for a meal
If you would like to support Love at Christmas in your workplace, school or community please contact us, collection buckets are available.
Our next supermarket collection is Saturday 28th November at Waitrose Canary Wharf!
We will be collecting a number of different food items for our Christmas Hamper Appeal – Love at Christmas.
Love at Christmas is a community effort to enable families and individuals facing crisis in Tower Hamlets to enjoy the festive season together. People have been nominated by our foodbank referral partners to attend our Love at Christmas event where there will be lunch, music, entertainment, gifts and of course Christmas Hampers! Keep an eye out for a blog post on Love at Christmas coming soon.
Are you able to join us at Waitrose Canary Wharf, between 9am and 4pm, to pick up a shopping list and purchase a couple of items?
Every donation you make will help bring joy and hope to people facing crisis this Christmas.
Hope to see you there!
Here’s a few photos from previous collections:
Planning on making a food donation soon?
Items most needed –
Tea (packs of 40 and 80)
Children’s Tooth Brush
Items not needed at the moment-
Since the introduction of the 5p charge for plastic carrier bags, we would also appreciate any spare carrier bags you are able to donate.
You can drop off donations at your nearest collection point or direct to our warehouse in Poplar or we also accept online supermarket deliveries to the warehouse. Please get in touch first, so we can make sure we’re there to meet you and accept your donation.
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