Communities

'Crystal Palace's support has been vital to me and my family'

2 Aug 2020
Sarah, Crystal Palace

Mum-of-one Sarah explains how the food offered by Palace Kitchen during lockdown has been crucial in more ways than one

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The challenges that Sarah and her husband faced during the coronavirus pandemic have been a familiar story for many, but her local club, Crystal Palace, have helped the south London family when they needed it most.

Sarah has a two-year-old daughter, is pregnant with her second child and lost her job at the start of the lockdown.

She and her husband moved to London from South Africa five years ago, so have no family to call upon for support, but fortunately Palace have stepped up for them.

The Palace Kitchen, a partnership between the club, the Palace for Life Foundation and City Harvest London, has provided 10,000 healthy meals for elderly and vulnerable people forced to stay at home, for families facing food poverty, for homeless people and for frontline NHS workers.

"I’m pregnant and I don’t have the energy to cook for the family, so the meals are amazing and they are delicious and healthy."

Sarah

It has been supported by more than £7,000 raised by Palace fans via the virtual Palace for Life Super Draw.

Since lockdown started, City Harvest has delivered over two million meals to people such as Sarah, who picks up her food on a weekly basis from the Legacy Youth Zone drop-off point in Croydon.

"Lockdown is tough," she says. "I'm high-risk so I don't want to go out much. I don't want anything to happen to me or my baby.

"I only come out once a week to collect my food and once a week to go to the park.

"The food we get is lovely. I'm pregnant and I don't have the energy to cook for the family, so the meals are amazing and they are delicious and healthy, too."

'Great help'

And the weekly visit to her local drop-off point has also helped Sarah keep her daughter busy too, as they use some of the food as an activity and cook together.

"It's been very difficult to entertain my child," she added. "We don't have any support around us or any family, they are all back in South Africa.

"To know that Crystal Palace is providing for us is so nice and is such a great help for my family."

Crystal Palace, Palace Kitchen

Lisa Kirkland, Volunteer and Staff Training Manager at Legacy Youth Zone, has been responsible for their food distribution programme during lockdown and has seen its impact first-hand.

"It has just shown us how much of a need there is," Lisa said. "People either can't get to the shop because they're self-isolating, they have lost their jobs or don't have enough money to go out and buy a family shop."

The pandemic has meant that club community foundations, such as Palace for Life Foundation, have diverted their outreach work into different areas. This has been facilitated by extra funds released by the Premier League.

Jamie Broughton would normally be involved with the Foundation's community football programmes such as Premier League Kicks in south London, but has been working on the food distribution programme.

"The needs of the people in our community have intensified during this time and we know that families are struggling to provide for their children," he said.

"We're proud to be working with partners such as City Harvest London and Legacy Youth Zone to make a positive difference."

More lockdown stories

See: Coronavirus, clubs and community

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