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A night shelter which caters for the homeless described the installation of a new cooker on Christmas Eve as the answer to its prayers.

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The Salvation Army’s cooker broke down just a week from Christmas – meaning the charity in Clements Road would have had to scale back its festive catering schedule massively.

But after being notified of the situation the Federation of Redridge Muslim Organisations (FORMO) stepped in to replace the £1,100 cooker hours from Christmas.

Mohammed Asif, 47, the chairman of FORMO, said: “We decided that we would do anything we could to help.

“The cooker was needed about a week before Christmas but no [shops] had any stock.

“Eventually I found the right cooker but then it had to be fitted on Christmas Eve. It just shows that when it needed to be fitted it was.”

Both Mr Asif, of Seven Kings, and John Clifton, 27, who runs the Salvation Army’s operation in Ilford, thanked the Muslim community for its efforts in securing the cooker.

Mr Clifton, a church leader, said: “It was the answer to our prayers.

“We would not have been able to carry on. People would have had to heat food up at home and bring it in on Christmas Day.

“It was pretty incredible. It is not a new thing that the faith community have worked together, but it is good to see the Muslim community being so organised. “Last year the Muslim community did a food drive, this year they have taken on a whole new level.”

Each night the Salvation Army in Clements Road sleeps 25 people, but provides around 45 people with food, too, including volunteers who travel straight from work to cater for the homeless.

Mr Asif added: “For the Salvation Army to have those facilities available for people who have nowhere else to go is unbelievable.

“The work they do is amazing.”

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