Hampstead Garden Suburb spirit helping to feed key workers and families
- Credit: Jo Russell/YDWD
The big white tent in Northway in Hampstead Garden Suburb has again become a hub for donations to frontline workers and vulnerable families struggling amid the pandemic.
The tent, outside of Debra Goodman's home, first appeared during the initial stages of the coronavirus crisis, when locals helped to deliver 30,000 meals to key workers. Now it's back - and Debra's collecting food and snacks for ambulance workers and local hospital staff.
She's again working with the You Donate, We Deliver (YDWD) group, but is also expanding the donation drive and calling for generous locals to drop off supplies for vulnerable families and babies too.
Debra told this newspaper: "A few weeks ago [YDWD] restarted things and they contacted us to see if we would help again.
"Every week they collect from my white tent. Because I have the tent up I think lots of people know what we're doing here."
YDWD help co-ordinate getting food to healthcare workers and the focus is currently on snacks and "grab and go" products - particularly fresh fruit, crisps, chocolate and home baked goods - but Debra is now asking for toiletries, baby clothes and other baby products to help those struggling in child poverty.
"What I've decided is that while the paramedics, ambulance drivers and hospitals obviously need our help, I want to support vulnerable families as well," she said. "So we are going to start supporting in particular two charities - Baby Basics and Little Village.
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"If people are dropping off kit cats they are also going to be able to drop off baby shampoo or baby wipes."
Little Village is a Camden charity which acts as a "foodbank, but for clothes, toys and equipment" for under-5s, while Baby Basics supports new mothers and families.
Debra, who has lived in the Suburb for more than 35 years and prior to the pandemic worked supplying flowers for shopfronts, said she had been repeatedly impressed by the community support for the project.
"It started because I couldn't bear the thought of just being sat here doing nothing. It just grew and grew and people really got behind us," she said.
"In this area - in the Suburb, in Finchley, in Hampstead - there's such a wonderful community spirit."
Donations are collected from the tent every Wednesday at 10am. To support YDWD's work, visit https://bit.ly/3boRYgo