Recently, ITV News spoke to us at the Jesus Centre about the initiative Beauty Banks. We were delighted to be able to raise awareness of the increase in hygiene poverty in the UK. As the article explains, 37% of people in Britain go without hygiene or grooming essentials each day. Beauty Banks mean that anyone can donate toiletries and they are distributed to charities, like us, who give them out to all those who need them.
At the London Jesus Centre, our mission statement is: “Restoring dignity, creating community”. We don’t just want to meet peoples’ needs, we want to be a part of restoring their dignity and their humanity. It’s wonderful to be able to provide people with the toiletries they need, plus some extra luxury items that they wouldn’t normally be able to afford. Imagine how humiliating it would be to not have sanitary products when you need them, or how difficult it would be turning up to an interview if you can’t shave or have a shower with soap.
ITV interviewed Sandra, who is one of the women who attends English classes and ‘Solace’ (our free lunch event for refugees and asylum seekers, where we give out a lot of toiletries). In the video clip, Sandra talks about how being able to have these toiletries makes her feel happy. As she puts it: “I’m a human being, I’m normal like everyone else”. And who doesn’t want to feel clean and smart?
Sandra usually picks up these toiletries, as well as donations of clothing, at ‘Solace’, the monthly lunch event held at the Jesus Centre for refugees and asylum seekers. Alongside ‘Community Feast’, the event run for homeless people, it’s a chance for people to build friendships and get the support they need. As a small charity, with Christian roots, community is very important to us; it makes life more meaningful, it causes us to look beyond ourselves and it gives us hope.
To be able to continue running events like this, and all our normal services, we need your support! Please consider donating to our crowdfunding winter appeal.