Gift of Giving

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Donations of food, clothes and chocolates came in thick and fast during Wanstead’s Christmas gift appeal. Juliette Harvey and Suzi Harnett thank the community on behalf of a wide range of local charities

December is a time of fun, frolics, exchanging gifts and lots and lots of gorgeous food. That was true for most, not so true for others. Sadly, the far-reaching impact of this awful Covid-19 pandemic means more and more people were stressed and stretched; food versus heating, warm coat versus school shoes, bus fare versus walking, and so on.

However, you, this community, with your consistent thoughtfulness, has spread a lot of kindness over the past month. Your generous donations – from a warm bowl of rice pudding with a dollop of jam to a sleeping bag and clean pants – has meant so much.

The successes of our December collection days at Wanstead Cricket Club, Eton Manor Rugby Club and the Co-op is a testament to just how blessed we are to live in such a caring environment. And thank you for allowing us to use these community spaces.

The charities and organisations that benefitted from your extensive December donations were: local care homes, The Corner House Project, NHS local heroes, women and children’s refuge services (including The Magpie Project and Hestia), Mill Grove, Whipps Cross Hospital, young carers (boys and girls aged 10 to 17), local food banks, Project Malachi (temporary accommodation in Ilford), Alternatives (for families with no funding who are waiting for universal credit), The Cranbrook Hotel, Hope for Humanity, Leytonstone Fridge, Highway Foodbank and Redbridge Foodbank.

The Tin in a Bin network and The Corner House Project teams are truly humbled that you have taken us into your hearts and continue to inspire us to keep going. Please be assured that you truly do take some of the strain away from families and individuals who find themselves in unfortunate circumstances. We all know it’s been a challenging couple of years and we are not out of the woods yet. Often, people will not admit they need help, but through our community network (you again), we get to go where we are needed and discreetly help.

We also extend our thanks to the Waltham Forest Drama Group and the Woodhouse Players for their fundraising production of A Christmas Carol at St Mary’s Church on 30 December. Later in the year, they will also be performing Alice in Wonderland.

Please keep sharing what you have and carry on thinking of others, because, honestly, without you, there is no us.

Donations to the Tin in a Bin network can be made at a number of drop-off points across Wanstead. For more information, visit wnstd.com/tinabsites. Items can also be left at St Mary’s Church from 10am to 12 noon every Wednesday and Saturday.