Almost 850 rough sleepers in London have received clothing and hygiene packs from a UK homeless organisation run by a Khoja volunteer.
The summer campaign by Hand on Heart proved that homelessness remains a problem – despite claims that Covid-19 has seen all rough sleepers housed in hostels and hotels.
Instead, there has been an upsurge in demand.
The 850 “essential packs” were distributed in nine locations in and around London and Milton Keynes in partnership with food-drive charities Who is Hussain?, Nishkam SWAT and Children of Adam.
Hand on Heart was co-founded by Stanmore Jamaat member Afzal Pradhan BEM.
Homeless people “queuing up”
He said: “There is this myth about how homeless have been housed during this pandemic but we’ve not seen it, and Nishkam SWAT, Who is Hussain?, Children of Adam, they haven’t seen it. Every week there are homeless people queuing up to be served food.”
Hand on Heart volunteers said that some of those who came for a pack were evidently new to rough sleeping, suggesting that more people have lost their homes as a result of coronavirus.
Watch the video
Watch the Hand on Heart Summer Homeless Campaign video below:
The project involved 35 families who together packed 12,000 items into 850 drawstring bags. The packs contained clothing, toiletries and hand sanitisers. Sanitisers were donated by WF Aid and Stanmore Jafferys.
Upsurge in need
“Our campaign sends out the message of how Hand on Heart is helping the plight of homelessness during the pandemic, and how it has seen an upsurge in the number of people needing assistance,” Afzal said.
“Thanks to our donors, our volunteers and our collaboration with partner charities we are determined to make a difference.”
He urged people to watch the entire video, saying: “It gives an insight to the project from start to finish. Though it is long, the clip exemplifies the incredible work carried out by Hand on Heart volunteers and families who took part. It is well worth a watch with footage from the various homeless drives and a prominent message at the end.”
Honoured by the Queen
Afzal, honoured by Her Majesty the Queen with a BEM 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 a Winter Warmers initiative last year, handing out warm clothes and hygiene packs to rough sleepers.
Find out more
Read more about Hand on Heart’s work with the homeless here
Donate to Hand on Heart here