Author Archives: Alice Tibbert

Where can I drop off my food donation?

There are multiple drop off points for Big Red Box this year, whether you’ve filled a box, have a bag full of food or just one item – anything and everything you give is much appreciated.

We will be collecting food every Sunday at our Lee, Downham and Catford sites during our service times:

Catford Site, Catford Hill SE6 4PS: 9:30am – 1pm & 5:30pm – 7:30pm
Downham Site, The Green Downham Way BR1 5LS: 9.30am – 1pm
Lee Site, 21 Meadowcourt Road, SE3 9EU: 10:30am – 12noon

We are also able to take food at the Catford Site Monday – Friday between 9am and 5pm.

We have three collection weekends coming up at local supermarket stores so if you haven’t bought your Big Red Box donation food yet please join us on one of the following dates and hand your food to one of our fabulous volunteers:

Co-Op Downham: Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd November
Sainsbury’s Lee Green: Friday 27th Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th November
Co-Op Downham: Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th December

We have already packed over 380 boxes this year, but we still need your help to reach our goal of 1000 Big Red Boxes! Any and all items of food help us to achieve that goal but if you can help we are particularly short of the following food items:

  • Fruit Juice (long life)
  • Christmas Puddings
  • Custard
  • Rice Pudding
  • Rice
  • Mince Pies
  • UHT Milk
  • Jam
  • Cereal
We'll be back again soon!

We shouldn’t be too hard to spot, we’re the ones wearing these great t-shirts!

This year we have also partnered with Kings Christmas Trees and will have Big Red Box drop off areas at their tree collection points in Catford, Beckenham and Deptford. For more information about the Kings Christmas Tree project, how to buy a tree and where there collection points are please check out their website.

Tree (2)

 

 

Why am I involved? – A Volunteers Story

Cathy, one of our fantastic Big Red Box Volunteers, tells her inspirational story about how she got involved with Big Red Box, and the hurdles she encountered on her journey.

What we love most about this story is that it’s not how we envisaged Big Red Box impacting people’s lives at all, but it’s amazing to see such great, if unplanned, consequences through projects like this. Cathy never even received a food hamper but it’s a heart-warming story about how she was impacted by the initiative to the extent that her life has changed and she is a key volunteer.

“In 2013 I was not in a very good place. My grandson Levi, who was just four years old, was diagnosed with cancer. Sadly in the summer of that year, Levi passed away. My personal storm had begun: I was angry, bitter and negative about everything. Whilst on the outside I would smile, my inner glow had disappeared, which in turn took away both my confidence and my ability to mix or talk to people. I just felt pain and heart-broken.

“I just kept asking why? I took most things for granted. I never took the time to appreciate those precious moments. My thoughts were not of where my life was leading, but of what I needed in my life. I had locked my inner self away. I had suffered a loss, which caused me to be sad and lonely.

“I remember one day close to Christmas going to Sainsbury’s in Sydenham to do my weekly shop, and saw some people at the entrance. They had red t-shirts on and were collecting food.

“I stopped for a while and just watched them. These people looked so happy, busy collecting food and giving out leaflets. I took a leaflet and went into the store. I collected some food on the list they had given me. As I came out they had gone. So I called King’s Church and arranged to drop the food off.

“When I did I was greeted and thanked by two very friendly young people. A warm and peaceful feeling brought a smile to my face.

“It was not until around a year later that I found the courage to go back to King’s Church, and got involved with Big Red Box. I do not mind telling you I was very nervous as I was not used to mixing with people, let alone smiling and asking for food. My fears where squashed as I was given a t-shirt. Mike Reich (Project Director) and the team soon put me to work. It made me feel humble as I saw what people gave. Everyone just kept smiling and packing boxes. It meant so much to me.

“I am so glad to be a part of Big Red Box.”

To find out more about how you can get involved with Big Red Box, follow us on twitter and facebook or check out our website.

A Big Red Box – Big Weekend

That was an amazing weekend! Over the weekend of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th October, Big Red Box was based in the foyer of Sainsbury’s, Sydenham and it was an incredible event for so many reasons.

We filled over 90 volunteers slots over the three days, our volunteers are amazingly kind and supportive and we certainly could not do it without them. If you popped in over the weekend i’m sure you saw them handing out flyers, packing crates or loading cars with one of the 230+ crates filled to the brim with food.

Some of the Big Red Box team

Some of the Big Red Box team

Throughout the weekend, many of the Sainsbury’s shoppers who donated so generously were keen to stop with the volunteers and chat about why they wanted to give. We had several amazing encounters and conversations about the customer’s motivations for giving – far too many to fit into one post though!

It was incredible to see people’s generosity. Some folks were kind enough to drop a can or two into the trolley, others a bag or two, whilst some stunned the team by donating whole trolley loads of food. We were thrilled and honoured to see the community come together with their willingness to help others in the community who are less fortunate than themselves at the moment, and we just loved seeing strangers get involved in Big Red Box and wanting to understand more about who we are and what it is we do.

We had some fantastic encounters with customers who wanted to be involved with the project, Helen, one of our volunteers told how one lady had asked when we’d be back again, and had to tell her we were only there for that weekend and she replied:

“Ok I will be back tomorrow with some custard for you.”

When Helen asked her why custard specifically, she replied:

“I was recipient of a Big Red Box a couple of years ago. It helped my family massively at the time but I didn’t have custard in my box and would have loved some with the Christmas pudding!”

It was fantastic to here how someone who needed a Big Red Box only two years ago was now in a better position where she was able to give something back and make sure some other families got custard this year.

One of the stunningly generous donations of food!

One of the stunningly generous donations of food!

Helpers of all ages were there, from 5 to 75, and one of our teenage volunteers, Indigo said:

“The response from the local community is amazing. It’s unbelievable how generous some people are – today a woman donated a whole trolley of food using the nectar points she had collected over the  past year or so.”

A really friendly shopper approached Alice, another volunteer and summed up the project in fantastically simple terms…

“It’s a great project because it gives people in need something to eat… and everybody needs to eat!”

The feedback was overwhelmingly positive, and people loved giving food as they knew where it was going – to the local community – and that they were able to make a direct impact into someone else’s life, maybe even one of their neighbours.

Thanks to both Sainsbury’s, Sydenham, as well as their incredibly generous customers for all their support over the weekend.

We'll be back again soon!

We’ll be back again soon!

Big Red Box responds to Refugee Crisis

For those of you who don’t know us, Big Red Box is a project which provides hampers of food to the families most in need within our community. Last year we managed to distribute 1096 boxes through Social Services, health visitors, homeless charities and other fantastic local organisations and charities.

This year we are also continuing our partnership with the Lewisham Refugee Network and will be prioritising getting Big Red Boxes out to them as soon as is practically possible in order to support any refugees in need of help, including those from Afghanistan, Vietnam as well as from North West Africa.

We are also liaising with several local Members of Parliament to see how we can help support those refugees who are or will be arriving in London in the coming weeks.

There are many ways in which you can get involved and help us share hope in the local community:

  • Volunteer: We are always looking for volunteers to help us pack and organise boxes. Or you can join us at local supermarkets to collect food and share the mission of Big Red Box with our community. This year we will be going to Sainsbury’s in Sydenham to collect food on Friday 2nd, Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th October.
  • Donate: You can donate through our Just Giving page on our website. All money contributed will go towards food to fill the boxes.
  • Fill a box: If you, your school or your business would like to get involved with Big Red Box, please contact us and we can set up a meeting!
  • Follow us: You can follow us on Twitter, Facebook and on our blog. Keep up to date with all the work we’re doing and find out what difference your contribution makes!

If you would like to donate, volunteer or if you have any questions at all please don’t hesitate to contact us at info@bigredbox.org