HARP, Southend’s homeless charity, is doing Harvest Festival differently this year so that local people can still collect food for them despite continued restrictions in place due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Each Harvest, schools, churches and other community organisations across South Essex normally collect food donations for the local homeless people housed and supported by HARP.
This year, with many of those schools and organisations are unable to undertake their usual collections due to the pandemic, the charity is inviting you to become a HARP Community Champion and coordinate a food collection for your street.
Lisa Walton, HARP’s Community Fundraiser, said: “We know that local people really value being able to help by donating food at Harvest, so we wanted to make it easy, even though things aren’t quite back to normal after lockdown.
“Of course we welcome collections from organisations that are still able to do so, but we hope that this new way of celebrating Harvest will enable as many people to get involved as possible.”
As a HARP Community Champion you would volunteer to receive donations of food from your neighbours for one week during the Harvest Festival period, which runs from September 14 to October 23. During your chosen week, your neighbours will be able to drop off food to a drop off point selected by you.
Once your collection is complete you simply take your donation to HARP’s Bradbury Day Centre on York Road in Southend.
Lisa continued: “We house up to 223 people at any one time, which means that we get through a whole lot of food. Every year, our annual Harvest collection helps us to get through the following 12 months and keep costs down while making sure that our residents and visitors to our day centre are well fed.”
You can sign up to be a HARP Community Champion at: www.harpsouthend.org.uk/harvest-at-home
Or if your school, church or community group would like to arrange a Harvest collection, email: [email protected]
HARP supports people who are homeless or at risk of losing their home in Southend. The charity provides housing and support to people on their journey to independent living, and gives advice and guidance to people at risk of losing their home.
Homeless people in need can also visit HARP’s Bradbury Day Centre to get food, clothing and a shower, on an appointment only basis at present, as well as get the practical support they need to help them escape the streets.