CamdenNewJournal

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Tears on doorstep as New Journal’s van goes on delivering lockdown aid

Generous readers help our effort to reach those most in need during the coronavirus crisis

10 May, 2020 — By Dan Carrier

New Journal reporter Dan Carrier delivering aid to volunteers at the Salvation Army in Chalk Farm

THEY had gathered on the doorstep, a family of seven who spanned three generations. Leila, 15, rang the bell and then stepped back a respectful distance.

Her grandmother answered, and burst into tears when she saw what her family had unexpectedly brought along for her to see from a distance: her newest great-granddaughter. The little one is just two months old.

And an extra surprise – and another moving moment showing the effect the lockdown is having on families – came as the New Journal dropped supplies to Mary, 84, at her home in Camden Town.

Our aid van, thought to be the only one run by a local newspaper in London delivering on a daily basis, has been taking emergency food donations to those unable to leave their homes. At the start of the crisis, the New Journal made the decision to play an active role on the ground, using our links as Camden’s most far-reaching newspaper.

We decided that writing articles from desks at home was not enough.

Graham Wade, of Queen’s Crescent Community Association, with some New Journal aid donations and, below, Caitlin Broadbent, also from Lifeafterhummus,

The aid van was kindly lent to us by Kentish Town hire firm H and H. Thanks to their kindness we have been able to criss-cross the borough with deliveries for foodbanks, crisis centres and those on their own. Our readers have been donating household must-haves and also letting us know of neighbours who could do with a visit to lift their spirits.

We have been working with charities such as Streets Kitchen, who deliver hot, nutritious food to the homeless; the voluntary Mutual Aid groups across the borough, dropping into hostels, shelters and community centres; and even visiting known hotspots where people who do not have a roof over their heads gather, bringing them warm meals.

On Sunday, the New Journal received an urgent message from Lorraine Kinnear who works at the Salvation Army in Chalk Farm. She told us they had nothing left to use to make breakfast for their daily homeless drop-in, and asked if we could help. Within 24 hours our generous readers had donated supplies to make a slap-up feast to start any day off on the right foot – eggs, beans, bacon and sausages, fresh fruit, cereals and even a job lot of crumpets.

Farrah Rainfly from Lifeafterhummus

Ms Kinnear said: “We really appreciated the New Journal’s support this week. It makes a real difference.”

Other drops included a visit to a woman who lives on in her own in New End, Hampstead.

The wheelchair user’s son, who is her main carer, is no longer allowed to visit the house as he is working as a driver and has been told it is too much of a risk to his mother’s fragile health if he were to do his regular drop-in and tidy up.

We not only delivered groaning bags containing all she needed – and a few surprise treats – but spent time having a chat, to hear how she was, to ask what she needed and, above all, to let her know that she could rely on the New Journal and our readers to make sure she never feels alone.

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