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news > 25/09/2013 - Harvest of Grace

Harvest of Grace

Harvest of Grace is a group of volunteers in London, run by Grace Sotinrin, providing meals every Saturday for their deprived beneficiaries and helping them with boxed food for Sunday. They receive no funding, so many of the items they receive through Giving World are vital to helping them provide the facilities for their beneficiaries to come and eat.

In addition to the provision of meals, Harvest of Grace also helps their beneficiaries in many other ways, from finding items for them, to helping sort out and furnishing accommodation. With company donations through Giving World,  the charity has received clothing, chairs, tables, beds and other furniture to help those beneficiaries most in need.

One of the Giving World team, Linda, visited Harvest of Grace one Saturday, and wrote about the experience:


I arrived at Harvest of Grace not knowing what to expect at all. There was no website to research, and nothing online about Grace herself, practically unheard of in this day and age.

I soon realised why - Grace gets no funding or donations whatsoever to run such a vital service. It is completely funded by Grace and her children. Every single penny goes towards feeding close to 200 beneficiaries every single Saturday, with enough food boxed to carry them through Sunday too.

One person came in and swept and mopped the floor. He introduced himself as Gonzo, and spent a good half an hour teasing me. He has a great sense of humour and an exceedingly sharp wit.

He then sat down quietly and asked 'Miss Grace' for his meal. Gonzo was a beneficiary, not a volunteer.

Many of the beneficiaries were helping as well as being helped.

Gonzo spoke about how much the service "saved him". He works in security, for an organisation that hasn't joined the 'Living Wage' initiative in London, and really struggles to make ends meet. "Especially by the end of the week. If I didn’t have this, I probably wouldn’t eat at the weekend."

Another beneficiary, Gomi, said "I am depressed at the moment, and spending time at the soup kitchen helps me interact and get me out of my shell. As well as food, I get clothes from them, I am grateful."

One of the lovely things to see was people from the same communities and countries speaking in their own languages, and catching up over lunch. Again, cue much more laughter.

Nikki, another beneficiary, said "My daughter and I came from Nigeria, but were refused asylum. My daughter is 14. We were staying with a friend, but when she moved we were made homeless. Harvest of Grace provided us with accommodation and support."

Grace not only cooks and provides community continuity; she also has intervened to make sure that some of her beneficiaries get into temporary accommodation, when they have fallen outside the system and into a life of homelessness.

Grace makes a huge difference to the families that eat at Harvest of Grace every weekend. She really struggles herself to find the money each week to make sure everyone that needs to can eat. It’s uplifting to know that Giving World is playing an important part in Grace's mission.

As she says herself, "I have to trust that I’ll always find a way." And she has.

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