Duncan Smith hails ‘brilliant’ drop-in project
WOODFORD FOREST United Synagogue has become the first shul in East London and Essex to offer a drop-in facility for asylum-seeker families.
Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith and Redbridge Deputy Mayor Councillor Taifur Rashid attended Sunday’s launch, held as part of Mitzvah Day.
Volunteers from a number of local synagogues sorted donated clothes, shoes, toiletries and children’s toys. They also served a hot lunch, distributed food vouchers and spent time befriending members of 30 asylumseeker families.
The drop-in is part of the United Synagogue Chesed scheme through which acts of kindness are undertaken to help both Jews and the wider community. It will continue on a monthly basis.
Mr Duncan Smith, MP for Chingford and Woodford Green, said: “Events like this show how brilliant the Jewish community are at reaching out to all other members of society, supporting and helping them.”
Councillor Rashid enjoyed “taking part in Mitzvah Day and seeing some of the good deeds that happen”.
Shul chair Robin Jacobs said it was important “that our synagogues are not just for the Jewish community but are a key part of the British community”.
The Hendon United congregation also runs a drop-in.
Young volunteers with donated toys. Opposite: Iain Duncan Smith chats to guests