Schools and churches come together to support Hope Centre

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Over 30 schools, churches, and pre-schools joined forces this October to respond to the growing crisis of homelessness in response to appeals for food made by the Hope Centre.

This heartwarming initiative has seen children and families writing short messages of hope onto the packaging of donated tins and household goods. Grange Park Church in Northampton hosted a special session during their all-age café church service, and schools have had class-activities to come together to write the messages.

The generous donations of food and household goods have been collected from participating schools and churches and organized by teams of volunteers from local businesses at Billing Mill, the site recently lent to the charity to process and coordinate some of their winter services. These supplies are now being distributed to families and individuals across the district who are struggling with financial hardship. Much of the food has been needed immediately to assist the growing number of individuals experiencing homelessness in Northampton.

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Recent reports have highlighted a concerning rise in the number of rough sleepers on the streets of Northampton. The lack of affordable housing alternatives, rising rents and the rising cost of living is exacerbating this issue. Much of the food donated through harvest is being used for casseroles and stews to provide hot meals for those without access to cooking facilities. Families at Hopes Community Larders have been deeply touched by the heartfelt messages on the donated items. With increased living expenses, many families are grappling with day-to-day living costs. The stress and mental health toll on these families are substantial, and the messages of hope on the donated items are helping to brighten lives.

Cooking for homeless community at HopeCooking for homeless community at Hope
Cooking for homeless community at Hope

Alex Copeland, CEO at Northampton Hope Centre, expressed his gratitude, stating, “The support we have received from the local community this year has been incredible. Given the cost-of-living crisis affecting everyone’s finances, the fact that people are coming together to support others is humbling.” Many of the food items collected will stock the shelves of the Centre’s warehouse in preparation for the challenging winter months. Alex continues; “We are unfortunately witnessing a significant rise in homelessness, with numbers already doubling compared to last year. The winter season always bring further increases and seasonal challenges, and we must be ready to help the most vulnerable. The truth is, without support to keep warm and without adequate access to food, people will die on the streets." Contributions from local schools and churches will not only ease the financial burden on families and communities this Christmas but will save lives. The overwhelming participation of local schools and churches in this year’s initiative, and the impact of the donations already made, is a testament to the true spirit of Harvest.