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A busy Christmas

While many people were sitting back and relaxing over the festive period our wonderful volunteers were even more busy than usual. This Christmas we laid on extra services providing people with food hampers, hot home-delivered meals and a place to meet others and share a meal.

Preparation started in the weeks leading up to December as volunteers, including graduate trainees from HSBC, volunteers from Virgin Trains and the Brunswick Group, helped to collect food items for our Christmas Hampers. Our thanks also go to Sainsbury's who allowed us to collect in store at Islington and East Dulwich.

Throughout the year The Food Chain sends out healthy food hampers to people struggling to afford to eat well, or too ill to shop for themselves, the items collected for our Christmas Hampers provided some special treats alongside these staples - and are sometimes used by the parents we support as stocking fillers for their children. At our East Dulwich collection we were delighted to welcome our new patron Jay Rayner to join us as we encouraged shoppers to donate an item - we were overwhelmed by the response and able to provide hampers to everyone on meals and at Eating Together.

On Christmas Day itself all three kitchens, at East Dulwich, King's Cross and Kentish Town, were open for business. Over 20 volunteers gave up their Christmas Day and spent it preparing Christmas dinner with all the trimmings and delivered 53 piping hot dinners to the doors of people affected by HIV. This was a particularly special Christmas Day for us as it marked 25 years, to the day, since our first deliveries were prepared.

The following day our Acorn House kitchen at King’s Cross was open once more. We welcomed almost 30 people living with HIV to share a traditional Christmas dinner. Turkey and beef were on offer, as well as a vegetarian alternative, and there was a festive quiz.

Yesterday our kitchens were open again as we resumed our usual Sunday meal delivery services – and our groceries have been provided as usual over the period and into the New Year.

Thank you to all the volunteers who gave up time this December to support our services and make sure it was a merry Christmas for the people we support.