Serving Wanstead


Paul Canal is overseeing the third annual Wanstead Christmas Dinner Appeal and urges anyone who can make up an extra plate on Christmas Day to get in touch

“If you have enough food to eat, you have enough food to share”. Those words were often used by my late father-in-law, Cecil McKenley, and it was these words that were the inspiration behind the Wanstead Christmas Dinner Appeal.

Launched in 2020, the appeal is an initiative that aims to supply a festive meal to local residents in need or those living on their own.

During the pandemic, our country and community came together in an impressive display of compassion and community solidarity. From shopping for the vulnerable to checking on elderly neighbours, we rediscovered what it means to be a community. The Christmas season is an opportunity to amplify that spirit of giving and sharing, of reaching out as an extension of the Christmas message.

We all cook too much at Christmas. The cost in money, food waste and carbon emissions is staggering. At the same time, a few streets away, someone is lonely and hungry. They would appreciate a Christmas meal. We are throwing food away. The connection is instant and the solution obvious! Plate up an extra meal and brighten a stranger’s Christmas. 

The benefits are obvious as well. Less food waste, a delighted lonely person in need and a reminder that Christmas is really about giving. And in addition to a hot meal, and perhaps a Christmas cracker or two, we are also reaching out and offering friendship, empathy and real community spirit. There are many reasons why someone could need a meal this Christmas, ranging from being on their own through bereavement or relationship breakdown to ill health, old age, disability or financial issues. Throughout the year, so many people in Wanstead support the Tin in a Bin foodbank network. Think of this as ‘tin on a plate!’

All we need do now is connect a person in need with a person who can share. So, would you or someone you know like a hot Christmas meal delivered locally on Christmas Day? If so, please get in touch and we’ll do the rest. Discretion and anonymity guaranteed. Conversely, if you are one of the many Christmas chefs who cooks for an extra person or four, and could provide a meal or two to a person or couple in need, please let me know. I will link the chef with the recipient, and our community can be assured we are doing all we can to spread the spirit of Christmas. 

Last year, over 80 meals were delivered via the Wanstead Christmas Dinner Appeal, including vegetarian and halal meals. I certainly hope the need is less this year, but I also hope that whatever the need, our great local community can once again meet it. Thanks, Wanstead!

For more information and to take part in the Wanstead Christmas Dinner Appeal, email paul.canal@gmail.com or text 07769 159 433

Author: Editor