London may be the richest part of the UK, but it is also home to the largest number of Britons living in poverty.
For thirty-five years, the Junior League of London has been working to build better communities by alleviating the effects of poverty in the local community. We do this through education, employment, engagement, and empowerment through training initiatives as well as directly supporting basic needs. With only one part-time employee, our charity is almost entirely volunteer-run.
The Holiday Hampers programme is part of our basic needs support. It was first started twenty-three years ago and has grown exponentially since: last year we delivered hampers to over a thousand of London’s most vulnerable during the festive season.
Recipients include families with limited means, women escaping domestic violence, and isolated elderly people. In particular, one person was surprised she was not only given essentials, or something for her child but a treat for her and her husband too.
She wrote: “Thank you so much for the hamper. It came at just the right time as I had just run out of some of the basics, such as teabags. You thought of everybody and had gifts for each child and there was even something for me and my husband.”
Last year alone, we filled 576 hampers and this year we are looking to donate even more. The full impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is still unknown but the challenges facing those in poverty are already increasing as we see growing demands on food banks, additional needs for the homeless, and greater isolation of the elderly. Any extra funding we receive will be used to increase the number of hampers we are able to assemble, which in turn ensures that we reach out to more Londoners in need during this unprecedented time.