Horley shop’s food donation makes a feast for the homeless

Peter von Staerck, Renewed Hope Trust volunteer who has been collecting fresh food donations from the Horley My Local shop. Pictures with Horley team leader Jane Field - picture submitted
Peter von Staerck, Renewed Hope Trust volunteer who has been collecting fresh food donations from the Horley My Local shop. Pictures with Horley team leader Jane Field - picture submitted

A Horley convenience store has teamed up with the town’s baptist church to help feed the homeless this winter.

Horley Baptist Church is hosting the shelter once a week during the winter period as part of a wider project run by Redhill charity the Renewed Hope Trust.

The My Local store in High Street is giving the church first pick of its unsold fresh food as part of the company’s nationwide campaign to bring down food waste.

Volunteer cook and trained chef Peter von Staerck has been turning the donations into everything from casseroles to bread puddings.

Horley My Local team leader Jane Field said: “Peter comes in and picks food from our reduced section that they can use to make meals for the homeless. I think it’s a great thing to do and other stores should be doing it too.”

My Local stores were once the Morrison’s M Stores, which the company sold off to convenience store veteran Mark Greene last year.

Jane added: “When he bought My Local he was adamant that any waste was going to go to charity within one mile radius of the store to do our bit for the community. It was one of the things he’s championed.”

Peter said: “My Local have bent over backwards to help. It’s unbelievable. When you see the waste in food, you imagine what it’s like in other supermarkets because this one is only a smaller store. I went in one day and there were 4-5lbs chickens there for 99p.”

The Renewed Hope Trust’s floating winter night shelter is part of the trust’s wider work throughout the year to help homeless and disadvantaged people in the East Surrey area.

For 12 weeks, from December to March, churches take it in turns to host the shelter once a week.

Horley Baptist Church has been hosting the shelter for the full 12 weeks and St Bartholomew’s Church in Church Road is hosting it once a week for six weeks.

Rev Russell Braund pastor at the Baptist church said: “We have been really pleased by the generosity of the local community in its support for the night shelter, and to the Horley My Local shop for donating food for meals.Our thanks go to My Local and all those who have made donations.”

Run solely by volunteers, the shelter provides a hot dinner, a warm bed for the night and a hearty breakfast the following morning.

It is supported by a daily drop-in where guests can get advice and company.

In past years the shelter has given guests the confidence and the chance to get a job or voluntary work or to settle in their own accommodation. For more information about the Renewed Hope Trust go to rhtes.org