Sandwich Angels provide lifeline for the homeless
EACH week they make almost 3,000 sandwiches for the region’s rough sleepers.
The team of volunteers – dubbed the Sandwich Angels – tackles a mountain of loaves donated by local supermarkets, turning them into muchneeded butties for 18 local soup kitchens.
The idea – from the Angels’ founder Christina Howard – was to take the pressure off the volunteers who run the soup kitchens providing a lifeline for the local homeless community.
“I thought I’d take the stress off them, so all they have to do is take the food,” Christina said.
“I got nicknamed the ‘sandwich angel,’ which is where the name of the group comes from.”
Originally, in 2014 she supplied four soup kitchens – but as more and more got involved things started getting out of hand.
“I needed help – there were just too many soup kitchens!”
Christina sent out a call on Facebook for local volunteers to help out.
“Nobody believed I was making that many sandwiches,” she said.
But luckily a few of the soup kitchens were on hand to prove Christina wasn’t joking, and soon she had some recruits.
Every Wednesday and Thursday the team of between five and 20 people gather in St Mary’s Community Hall in Newton, Hyde, at 9am to tackle the mountains of loaves donated by supermarkets and local people.
“The volunteers are from all walks of life,” Christina said, and include police officers, teachers, doctors, barristers and pensioners.
People donate tins of tuna, corned beef and ham, and soup kitchens put in a weekly order depending on how many sandwiches they think they’ll need – or how many they can carry.
Many go out at the weekend, so Christina still spends hours making hundreds of sandwiches at home each week. But she says it’s a worthy cause.
“Everybody should be fed,” she said.
Tesco donates leftover loaves on a Tuesday evening, and Morrisons Hyde also have a close partnership with the group, passing on unsold food when they can.
The group also takes donations of sleeping bags, clothes, drinks and snacks.
Although daytime temperatures have soared in the past week, chilly night time temperatures mean there is ‘still a big demand for sleeping bags,’ Christina said.
Bottled water is another high-priority item.
“But our main problem is bread,” Christina said. “We often end up having to ask volunteers to bring a loaf with them.
“We’re also always looking for volunteers to either make or help deliver the sandwiches.”
The group doesn’t take cash donations, but anyone wanting to help can donate bread or tinned food to use as fillings at Morrisons Hyde.
For more information contact the group directly on 07713 973640.
●● Founder Christina Howard is appealing for more donations as demand soars