A heart-warming organisation handing out “Winter Warmer” clothes and hygiene packs to rough sleepers in London is raising funds for its next big project.
Hand on Heart was co-founded by Stanmore Jamaat member Afzal Pradhan BEM.
Its next handout takes place on Sunday 9 February and Hand on Heart is aiming to raise £5,000 to provide Winter Warmer essentials to 450 homeless people.
Each Winter Warmer pack will contain:
4. Socks (3 pairs)
5. Underwear (3 pairs)
6. Woolly hat
8. Shower gel
9. Wet wipes
10. Oral hygiene set
11. Hot water bottle
12. Bottled water
13. Snack bar
14. All packed in a backpack
A small gesture but a huge help
Watch Hand on Heart’s amazing video here
Afzal said: “Almost 9,000 people slept rough in the capital during 2019, according to research commissioned by the Greater London Authority. That is double the number in eight years. Our Winter Warmers are a small gesture that go a long way towards alleviating the hardships of some of these homeless people.
“Each pack filled with winter essentials will cost around £20-25. Whether you are able to donate towards just one pack or multiple packs, your contribution will go a huge way in helping a rough sleeper cope with the harsh winter conditions.”
Feeling like a prince!
Comments from recipients have included: “… the winter packs are wonderful there is nothing but praise from myself and others that received them.” Another recipient even said he felt like a prince!
Afzal added: “In February and November 2019, Hand on Heart provided 400 Winter Warmer Packs in total to rough sleepers in London after raising £13,000. Our ‘guests’ (rough sleepers) were extremely appreciative of our projects and thanked us for our efforts and generosity. This project was also incredibly rewarding for all those involved.
“With growing demand, Hand on Heart has again partnered with the Al-Mizan Charity Trust to provide 450 Winter Warmer Packs this February, working alongside the food-drive charities Children of Adam, S.W.A.T and Sufra.”
Afzal, honoured by Her Majesty the Queen with a BEM in the New Year Honours for his sports volunteering, co-founded Hand on Heart in 2007 to work with shelters and supply thousands of food parcels to the homeless. Along with his wife and daughter, they launched the Winter Warmers initiative last year.
“With the harsh weather of the winter months extending almost till April, this is the perfect opportunity to offer help through charity,” he said. “Our research has shown that it is during this time that the homeless are often forgotten by the wider community.”
Distribution will be at two locations on 9 February: Lincolns Inn Field in Holborn and Charing Cross. There will be a further distribution in Wembley on 14 February.
An exciting journey
The project will be carried out from Afzal’s family home in Perivale, Ealing, over two days of setting up, packing and distribution. The venture is so popular that he in inundated with volunteers. Parents are encouraged to bring their children to help pack and raise awareness.
“Hand on Heart is growing organically and we are very excited where this journey will lead us over time,” he said.
“Until now (after a chance to reflect), I never realised or paid any attention to the work I do. I am here for a purpose and with Hand on Heart, that purpose is to make a positive difference. We feel blessed that Allah (swt) has given us the strength to serve society in this way.”
Read about Afzal’s Honour from Her Majesty the Queen here
Read more about Afzal here
A better life during a difficult time
Afzal has been a volunteer since he was young. He explains: “Initially, my motivation to volunteer was to give back to the community for a country that helped me and my family. Back in 1972, at the age of five, I was a refugee from Uganda when my family arrived in this country. The UK took us in and helped give us a better life during a difficult time.
“I wanted to give back in some way. I felt I had certain skill sets (mainly organising) which I wanted to contribute to worthy causes and events.” With Hand on Heart Afzal’s role covers fundraising, supplies and logistics while his wife Asifa looks after the volunteers. They both manage the projects and planning and are supported by an amazing core team and dedicated volunteers.”
You can help raise awareness of Hand on Heart’s amazing work by liking and sharing:
Donate for the February handout here