Joel Ward visited the club's Palace Kitchen this week, helping to prepare and package 350 meals being delivered to those in need that day.
The Palace right-back, who has previously been involved with local foodbanks and hospitals, met and supported club chefs who, working with Palace for Life Foundation and partners City Harvest, are providing over 5,000 meals within the community between now and Christmas.
The pioneering project provides healthy and nutritious food to thousands of local people, working with Croydon Council to identify vulnerable individuals and families in the greatest need of support. This includes those in emergency housing, the elderly, families and homeless people.
"It’s amazing," Ward told Palace TV after his visit. "Three-hundred-and-fifty meals a day, 5,000 people before Christmas, it’s mind-blowing. It’s such a great thing to see the club doing that and being part of it, giving it to people who need it and need the help."
The 31-year-old also made a more concerned observation, saying: "It knocks you back a bit to see the scale of the need in this local area and even on a global scale or in this country, how much people are in need of help. It’s mind-blowing. So it’s great to see that the club are doing this and tackling it one meal at a time.
"It’s sad that in this day and age people have to rely on this with everything that’s around us. But it shows the heart of people, the heart of people in the club and even outside the club who are willing to donate and give something to help others. That restores your faith in humanity, in a sense."
The club has committed to covering Palace Kitchen costs in December, including purchasing fresh ingredients, staff, costs of preparing the nutritious meals, safe packaging and labelling.
Palace for Life Foundation CEO Mike Summers explained exactly why the initiative is so crucial, now more than ever: "Between now and Christmas we’re looking at about 5,000 [meals] and potentially looking with the right funding from our fans and supporters to take that into January. As we all know, January will be a tough time.
"During the first lockdown, we prepared over 16,000 meals, running from April through to July. That was such a great benefit to the local community at that really, really difficult time.
"But it’s more important than ever now because obviously it’s the wintertime. People are cold, people are struggling more, people have lost their jobs; a real difficult situation, particularly in Croydon and the south London area. A lot of people need that extra support.
"We’re here to help the most vulnerable in the community at their time of greatest need and I don’t think there’s ever been a time of greater need than this.
"I think it’s a great opportunity this, Palace Kitchen, for fans to get behind a big campaign that’s making a difference in the local community."
To support the Palace Kitchen, please click here. And to see how Joel's visit went, click on the video below.