Hundreds of hampers collected for elderly in Christmas charity appeal

The hamper appeal serves elderly people in Croydon. Pic: Bengt Nyman

The hamper appeal serves elderly people in Croydon. Pic: Bengt Nyman

A local charity has collected 500 hampers full of holiday favourites as well as toiletries and hygiene products for vulnerable elderly people in Croydon. 

Croydon Commitment announced its twelfth Christmas fundraising drive late last month with the mission of filling 500 hampers  for the elderly people in Croydon. 

Croydon Commitment teamed up with Whitgift Care and Croydon Neighbourhood Care Association, continuing the tradition of collecting items for elderly people in Croydon who are housebound and typically spend the holidays alone. 

The drive works with local businesses and schools in Croydon who collect items throughout November and December. The Croydon Commitment team then bundles up the hampers and delivers them to local nursing homes and caregivers. 

The hampers will have grocery items like tea, coffee and snacks as well as Christmas treats including mince pies, cake and Christmas pudding. 

Melinda Ashford, manager at Croydon Commitment, spoke about the impact collecting from local organisations has on the elderly community. She said: “A lot of the elderly residents are house bound and they can’t get out and do shopping. It means that business communities and the schools have not forgotten about them.” 

More than 1 in 3 people aged 75 and older say that they have feelings of loneliness out of their control, according to the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness. In 2016, Age UK found that 1.2 million older people in the UK are ‘chronically lonely’. Roughly a third of Croydon’s population is over the age of 50, while almost 15 per cent is over the age of 65.  

“Trying to do 500 Christmas hampers is a brilliant way to get to the heart of the issue,” Ashford said, regarding loneliness among elderly people during the holidays. 

This year, the hamper appeal also spread out to include products for families suffering from hygiene poverty. The drive supported The Hygiene Bank and Beauty Banks, sending 50 stuffed bags of toiletries and hygiene products to The Hygiene Bank and a van full of products for Beauty Banks. 

Ashford explained that the high numbers of people in London suffering from hygiene was brought to their attention this year, leading them to expand the reach of their drive. 

“For people with no income, hygiene would come second to feeding themselves,” Ashford said. “There’s girls not going to school because they don’t have money for sanitary products. The economic climate being what it is, it’s going to become much more of an issue. To think that in this country, children are actually missing school is just insane.” 

Early this year, a study showed that more than a third of children in Croydon are growing up in poverty.  

The holiday hamper appeal is just one of the many fundraisers Croydon Commitment organises throughout the year. Holding the annual Christmas drive is important to Ashford and the charity. 

“It’s easy for people to do. Why not just pick up another item when you’re doing your weekly shop,” Ashford said. “Christmas is the time when you should be thinking about looking after your neighbours.” 

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