Volunteers bring Christmas cheer to Barking's homeless

A man gives his thumbs up

Volunteers provided meals, clothes, toiletries and treats to wish members of Barking and Dagenham's homeless community a Merry Christmas. - Credit: Bren Otto

A group of volunteers have brought cheer to the homeless this Christmas.

Upwards of 50 rough sleepers enjoyed a slap up meal and hot drink during the outreach event in East Street, Barking on Wednesday, December 16.

Volunteers from the homeless outreach in Barking

Volunteers spent two and a half hours serving meals, drinks and offering hair cuts in Barking. - Credit: Bren Otto

Brenda Otto, from the organising group Nightingale Angels UK, said: "We are a community and we all like to help each other. It's nice that in times of need, people can reach out for help."

Volunteers serve the drinks

Bren estimated that between 50 to 55 homeless people came along. - Credit: Bren Otto

In total, 90 meals were prepared thanks to volunteers Kellita Sweeney, Antoinette Smith and Alexis Levene. 

Morrisons supermarket's community champion Sarah Hurst pitched in as well as Kristina Ward, Mary Ward and Robert Dean from group Take a Knife Save a Life. Sherrel Mcneish helped organise the night. 

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Former rough sleeper, Ray Bryant, affectionately known as Santa Claus because of his white beard, volunteered too.

Junior Musa

Junior Musa from Darth Faderz Studios in Dagenham has volunteered for the outreach for the last three years. - Credit: Bren Otto

Barber, Junior Musa, from Darth Faderz Studios in Oxlow Lane, was also there, scissors in hand, to give anyone a trim.

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"We didn't want the homeless to feel they were forgotten," Brenda said. 

Junior Musa gives a hair cut

Junior cuts hair as part of the outreach on Wednesday, December 16. - Credit: Bren Otto

Besides tucking into a hot meal, the homeless were offered clean socks, toiletries donated by community group Lola's Homeless and sweet treats.

"It's a really nice thing to give back to the community," Brenda added.

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