Beyond food parcels: Holistic support for families on the edge

Beyond food parcels: Holistic support for families on the edge

14 February 2022 by Pattie Gercke in Food Poverty, Housing, Debt and Financial Wellbeing, Refugee & Asylum.

As I stepped into the CARIS office in Haringey, I was met by a sea of boxes packed full of food and other household essentials ready to be collected by families in Haringey with No Recourse to Public Funds, asylum seekers and others experiencing hardship. Come midday, families start arriving and received a warm welcome at the door from Gloria’s team.

Gloria Saffrey- Powell is the Director of CARIS Haringey and was awarded the British Empire Medal in the latest Queens Birthday Honours, for her service to the local community. CARIS stands for Christian Action and Response in Society and they provide support in the London Borough of Haringey.

Holistic support for families

The families they support have come to be known to them through referrals from churches, schools, social services, and other support agencies. They currently support between 30 and 40 families at each drop in, however it’s much more than just food parcels which they provide. They provide ‘in house’ holistic support, as well as signposting families to other organisations where appropriate.

This support could look like advice and advocacy on housing, where Gloria’s team might advocate on behalf of a family with their landlord to avoid them facing eviction. Or on issues of overcrowding or poor housing conditions.

This support could look like immigration advice, where they partner with CORAM to support families on their asylum/ immigration claim.

This support could look like advice on finances & debt, or welfare rights such as universal credit claims. They might also help families with registering for nursery places, or with a GP, which can be an additional challenge where English is not their first language.

One of their Outreach Advice workers says this about their work:

It’s all about the impact on families of the support we provide. To see the change from the point they first come. Just in knowing their rights, you see people smiling again, a difference in their physical appearance.

Please pray for them

Gloria and her staff team would appreciate your prayers for them in the work they are doing.

  • Pray for the recruitment of a new Outreach Advisor in the current tough recruitment climate, and the recruitment of new trustees.
  • Pray for funds to secure new accommodation for their offices, since they have outgrown their current space, and for a suitable office space to be identified.
  • Pray for them as a team to continue to meet the needs of the families they support, and to continue to be salt and light to those families.
  • Pray for them as a team to continually seek God’s wisdom, and work within God’s will for their work.

How else can you support their work?

CARIS Haringey always welcome good quality donations of food, toiletries, household products and baby and child products, from their list (contact or Tel 020 8801 3004), as well as financial support towards their work which can be donated through their website (

Pattie Gercke

Pattie Gercke

Pattie is the Compassionate Communities Development Worker for Refugee& Aslyum Seeker response, Housing & Homelessness. She has a background in the humanitarian sector and an MA in Development and Emergency Practice. She is passionate about issues of justice, hospitality, and community.

View all posts by Pattie Gercke

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