When Mike Humphrey’s, a former haulage contractor in Hertfordshire heard about a local charity which has delivered more than 24,000 food items to families during the pandemic, was struggling with transport, his Trust stepped in and donated its 100th Vehicle, which was delivered on Thursday August 27th.
Mike, who lives in Croxley Green, Hertfordshire, had many heavy haulage vehicles on the road taking goods around the country . With local hauliers he set up a training centre for heavy goods vehicle drivers in the centre of Watford.
When the centre closed in 2006, it was decided that rent from the building could be used to supply vans and minibuses to deserving causes.
West Herts Charity Trust was set up and since then it has donated 99 vehicles to local charities, scout groups, schools and other organisations.
When Mike, Chairman of the Trust, and his fellow directors realised that local charity Restore Hope, based at Latimer Park, Chesham, were working flat out to raise funds to buy, collect, grow, cook and deliver fresh nutritious food for local families, the Trust decided to step in and give the one hundredth vehicle.
“I heard that the charity was struggling to deliver food. They had ripped the seats out of their old minibus in an effort to get boxes of hope with toys, meals and food to families, but that meant that they could not then give much needed transport to families.”
“ Restore Hope seemed to be the ideal candidates for our one hundredth vehicle, I know they will use it well and local families facing extremely tough circumstances will benefit. I suppose that its one charity helping another.”
At the start of the pandemic, Restore Hope, who have been in existence since 2002, set up a distribution centre from scratch and have so far sourced, packed and distributed free of charge more than 32,000 sports, toy and craft items for children! They also launched a brand-new initiative called ‘FoodLife’ to get fresh food to as many families as possible to provide practical hope and support to those facing really tough situations.
So far, the Restore Hope FoodLife programme has delivered over 22,500 portions of fresh fruit and vegetables and 4300 ‘Dinner is Served’ meal packs! To supplement the food that the charity is purchasing, volunteers worked together to dig up some of the event field and plant a big ‘Market Garden’ which is already producing wonderful vegetables that are now being picked and then delivered to families. To provide further support for families who have been deeply impacted by the pandemic, Restore Hope also provided daily phone support and as lockdown eased, they set up an outdoor ‘Hope Café’ and children’s wellbeing activities for families that had no outdoor space of their own or no where else they could go.
Restore Hope Director, Graham Wakeman said:
“We can’t thank Mike and his charity enough for the van which is going to make a massive difference to our ability to support local families. He added: “ It’s a special honour to receive the 100th vehicle. It’s been such a tough time for children and families and from what we’ve seen on doorsteps through lockdown, families have been suffering in ways that many of us wouldn’t want to even imagine.
“Our new van will enable us to deliver food and hope to many more families in an ongoing time of crisis. However, it will also be the catalyst to invite families back to the beautiful old farm estate where we are based.
“Here they can find community and support and access training in a wide range of practical areas, life skills, parenting and personal development. Our heart is that children, young people and parents will be equipped to fulfil their potential and use their gifts and skills to bring hope to those around them.”
Main image credit: Paul Upward