Ilford Recorder launches Christmas appeal

Surviving on food parcels, considering medicine a luxury and having holes in your only pair of shoes is the reality for hundreds of people this winter.

This year the Ilford Recorder has chosen the Refugee and Migrant Forum of East London (RAMFEL) as the charity for our Christmas appeal.

The organisation, based in High Road, Ilford, helps more than 200 of the poorest people in our borough each week with food, clothes and advice – all for free.

The centre is open to anyone who has nowhere else to turn regardless of why they need help or their background.

Rita Chadha, chief executive, said: “If anyone is in trouble then they need help full stop, regardless where they came from or how they got here. We work with all communities and all situations.”

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During the winter the number of people relying on food parcels increases which puts additional strain on the centre. “You can never be prepared enough,” she said. “We need winter clothes as we only have a couple of jackets left and we are getting more referrals from social services asking us for items.”

Lack of warm clothes and enough food mean many people attending the centre are more susceptible to illnesses.

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Rita said: “More people get ill during these periods. A cold that we would just brush they can’t because they cannot afford medicine or warm drinks or anything to get them out of the situation.”

The centre is also appealing for shoes, particularly for children.

“They only have one pair of shoes usually summer ones and they are not suitable for the cold,” she said. “They have holes in them as they can’t afford public transport so have to walk everywhere.”

Anyone getting parcels from the food bank has to regularly undergo interviews to ensure that the food is reaching the most in need.

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