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Volunteers Brave Freezing Temperatures to Help East London’s Homeless

Homeless people and drug addicts in east London felt the helping hand of volunteers and local Tesco grocery stores on Thursday.

According to a story by Alistair Kleebauer of the East London Advertiser, on a night when temperatures dropped to minus three degrees, the Friends Together group in Mile End welcomed homeless people into the East London Tabernacle Baptist Church in Burdett Road.

After supplying sandwiches, biscuits and hot drinks, in part donated by Tesco stores in Bow Road and Burdett Road, a group of 10 volunteers went out into the freezing temperatures to help those sleeping on the streets.

The East London Advertiser reported that group founder Chris Okworu, 51, a pastor at the Redeemed Christian Church of God in Mile End Road, where he also owns a pharmacy, said, “This group of people needs help. They deserve some encouragement and deserve something back from society.”

The East London Advertiser said with about 300 pounds of food between them, volunteers looked for homeless hot spots in Stepney, Bethnal Green, Whitechapel and Aldgate.

They then planned to expand their mission to central London if they had any food left over.

Imtiaz Ahmed, manager of the Bow Road Tesco, told the East London Advertiser, “It’s getting cold now and there are people out there who need support and help. Chris went around local businesses looking for supporters and it was something we wanted to get involved in.”

Rafal Kowalczyk, 31, from Poland, told the East London Advertiser the group has helped to change his life.

He was homeless until 22 months ago and had drinking and drug problems, including using cocaine and amphetamines, but Friends Together helped him find a home and work through the Victory Outreach church in Millharbour, Docklands.

He said, “I’ve found peace now; this has really helped me.”

The East London Advertiser said  “John,” 55, stays at a night shelter at the Tabernacle Road church on most evenings.

He had been invited to the Friends Together meeting by Okworu for a cup of tea, and said that the majority of programs like this are linked to churches.

He told the East London Advertiser, “No-one else is caring. I’ve gone along to a Baptist church, I’ve gone to Catholic churches. It doesn’t matter what denomination they are, they will help you.”

The group meets every Thursday evening. For further information, call (in the UK) 07930753017.

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