Crystal Palace F.C. and Palace for Life Foundation delivered 350 Christmas goodie bags and toys to residents in temporary accommodation and children at Croydon University Hospital this week.
Distributed as part of The Palace Kitchen, the goodie bags included edible items such as mince pies and satsumas, as well as a Christmas card from Roy Hodgson.
The Palace manager said: “This Christmas will be very different for everyone, but for those families who are struggling or isolating in their homes, it will be particularly difficult.
“I’ve been immensely proud of The Palace Kitchen and the way our club has come together to support our community. Even if we can bring some small joy to children and families over Christmas, it is something that will make everybody at the club very happy.”
The parcels were delivered by project partner City Harvest to families housed by Croydon Council who have been made homeless or are waiting for permanent housing to become available at a time when the borough is facing extreme demand for services.
From April to October 2020, around 14,000 free school meal assessments were made by the Croydon Intervention Team, compared to just over 4,000 in the same period last year. During the same timeframe, more than 2,000 households were supported with emergency food or utilities.
Councillor Alisa Flemming, Croydon Council’s cabinet member for children, young people and learning and Palace for Life Trustee, said: “In our council-run temporary accommodation we look after a lot of people who would otherwise have nowhere else to stay, including many families.
"And while we also provide the care and welfare support for those in need, it’s things like these welcome gifts that often make the extra difference to people at Christmas. I believe that it’s the small things that are the greatest and in that spirit I offer a huge vote of thanks to Crystal Palace for yet another fantastic community project.”
One of the residents who received the food parcels added: “Thank you Crystal Palace F.C. for making us happy this Christmas.”
These deliveries were in addition to the 350 daily hot meals being cooked by chefs at Selhurst Park for vulnerable groups such as the elderly and people experiencing homelessness this winter.
So far this month, more than 5,000 nutritious meals have been prepared, 20,000 in total this year, with a commitment to continue the project into January.