A community network of mums and grandmothers are providing a lifeline to thousands of struggling families who without their support would go hungry.
The Golden Hearted UK was set up by two women, Rachel Osgood and Vicky Humphrey in late November 2019 just on the basis that the women had experienced hard times in life and wanted to ensure that no on went hungry over Christmas.
The pandemic saw the demand for help increase and the group’s Facebook page has in relatively short time grown to 24,000 members with a 50 strong network of like minded volunteers in Thornton Heath, Croydon and Surbiton helping people in crisis.
The only requirement is the desire to go ‘above and beyond to help others’ with volunteers using their homes as hubs to collect and dispatch donations of food parcels, clothing, as well as assisting with furniture or domestic appliances.
Recently, the Co-op in Green Lane agreed to have a drop box in their store to help collect donations for the group which accepts PayPal donations as well to provide support for those in desperate financial dire straights.
The closed Facebook page is made up of givers and receivers with those in need able to post privately to the group’s management requesting assistance.
Claire Briscoe – Assistant Managing Director, said: “I joined in January 2020 and saw the aftermath of the first Christmas. Considering it was initially just two women they did an amazing job getting out as much food as possible to families who would not have had food for Christmas.
“It is now run on the basis that we are volunteer and donation based. Word of mouth has been our
biggest form of advertisements with family and friends talking to their family and friends. Donations could be a tin of beans to a whole food shop. People have been absolutely amazing.
“We have people come to us who have literally no food or they have had a house fire or their home has flooded and they have nothing to women fleeing domestic violence with children. We help with all sorts of crisis cases not just food.
“In the beginning it was just a Facebook page with 1,000 people on it which is not such a big idea, but when our team members now go to supermarkets or businesses asking for donations and say this who we volunteer for and take a look for yourselves – they realise we are not just a two second wonder trying our luck.
“I think especially because of the pandemic the amount of people that have needed help has gone up dramatically. Even now as much as pandemic is starting to ease down still so many people need help.
“It is not just young people it is everyone from parents to those who are near reaching retirement age. There is such as spectrum of people losing their jobs and enduring such hardship.”