At the Harvest Festival service we donated food to The Upper Room. But what is this charity and how does it use the food it receives? More importantly, are there items other than food that we could donate in future?
The Upper Room was founded in 1990 by John Wheeler in response to people knocking on his door, asking for food. He set up the organisation with the help of his parishioners to support vulnerable and socially disadvantaged people in West London.
The majority are homeless people sleeping rough, but the charity also works with ex-offenders and economic migrants. Recent years have seen an increase in people from Poland and, more recently, Bulgaria and Romania.
“Most of the food we prepare is donated by members of our community and from places like Whole Foods, Charlie Bigham’s and other supermarkets,” says Amanuel Woldesus, Operations Director. “Our chef is able to produce really excellent meals for less than 10p per head – it’s a remarkable achievement.”
For several years the congregation of St Philip’s has donated to their annual Harvest Appeal. During this period The Upper Room collects an immense quantity of tinned food and other goods from schools and churches. They sort these and store them in a 20ft container located in church yard for use throughout the year. This both keeps costs down and helps make people aware of the work that they do.
In addition to food with a long shelf-life and clothing for men, the charity needs Toiletries, including disposable razors, toothbrushes and toothpaste, soap and shampoo (travel size), stick deodorants and pocket-size packets of tissues, and bedding like sleeping bags and blankets.
If you would like to learn more about the Upper Room, or get involved in its work, visit their website http://www.theupperroom.org.uk/.