What's the point of Agents Giving Day?
Agent's Giving Day is about rallying our network to inspire as many donations as we can collect for our local food banks.
We've all faced challenges this year. For some people, the most urgent challenge continues to be feeding themselves and their families. It's a truly heartbreaking position to be in, to be facing an empty fridge and cupboard and not knowing where the next meal will come from. With unemployment on the rise, more and more people are finding themselves in this situation.
We anticipate that help with food support this year will be needed by more people than we've ever seen in our years in West Hampstead. This was on our minds when we fundraised within our team for Agents Giving Day this year. We even got creative and sold some office furniture to donate the proceeds.
We decided this year that we'd be fundraising for the Food Hub, which is based out of Sidings Community Centre. Only a short walk away from our office, it helps to support some of our closest neighbours.
How did we do?
All in all, we raised over £350 in a couple of days. Armed with a list of the Food Hub's most urgently needed items, Reagan (our Operations Director extraordinaire) and Dipak (our expert Gas Engineer) headed to the supermarket. Strategizing to make the funds go as far as possible, they got to work filling the trolleys with food items to donate.
By the end of their whirlwind trip through the store they had collected over 500 items!
Soon, with trolleys full, they were checking out.
Off to the Food Hub!
It was then up to Jit (our General Builder), Naresh (our Carpenter) and myself to deliver our donations to the Food Hub. When it comes to a good cause, Jit and Naresh will always be right in the midst of things doing whatever they can to help. Often, that seems to involve lifting heavy things!
Once we reached the Food Hub we met Sue, Sidings' center manager and passionate spokeswoman for the food support programme. We also met some of her team, and it really came across just how dedicated they are to the issue of food insecurity. The Food Hub has only been operating out of Sidings Community Center in West Hampstead for less than two months. Already they have a big turn out every weekend of about 100 people.
Sue says "Since we began offering food support out of the community center, the number of people coming to us for help has increased every week. It's really important for us to be able to provide food parcels for every person in need that comes to us for help."
After Jit and Naresh pulled out the first two large bags of donations from our van, Sue and her team thought that was it. They didn't realise the van was nearly full!
What struck me most during our visit were Sue's stories. She told us about the long term consequences that some people face if they don't have access to food support when they need it. When you have to choose feeding your family over paying your bills, those missed bills can spiral into utilities being cut off, housing insecurity, and sometimes worse. Food support helps people get through a difficult time without losing everything to survive.
If you'd like to help the Food Hub at Sidings provide a lifeline for people in our community, you can either drop off a non-perishable food donation at our office in West Hampstead, at their location on Brassey Road, or head to their website here to make a donation. We hope that we can inspire you to do what's in your power to help!