'The littlest things done with love can change the world' - homeless give food money to Filipino family (From Watford Observer)
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Homeless men living in Grow hostels in Watford donate food money to Filipino family affected by Typhoon Haiyan in Philippines
(L-R) Steven Latham, Martin Ryan, Liam Fisher, Daniel Williams, Jules Ziekenoppasser, Dave Angel, Ricky Cresswell, Eamonn Clay)
A group of homeless men living in Watford hostels have donated two weeks’ worth of food money to a family in the Philippines, whose house was destroyed in a typhoon.
The men from Grow hostels in Rickmansworth Road, Princess Avenue and Euston Avenue, gave up the £17.20 food allowance they each receive weekly from housing benefit.
They survived for a fortnight on Christmas donations and handed over the £450 they saved, plus £50 from Grow, to a family whose home was blown to pieces during Typhoon Haiyan in November.
Tim Hart, 33, who lives in the Grow hostel in Rickmansworth Road, said: "At Christmas we were donated food parcels and at first we thought about sending them to the Philippines.
"Then we thought we could eat the food and send them our money instead. I didn’t think we would raise so much, it feels good to know we are helping a family directly.
"This family losing their home in a storm will have an impact for generations.
"I hope this encourages people, because the world is changing and people are feeling quite negative.
"The littlest things done with love can change the world."
Typhoon Haiyan was a powerful tropical cyclone that devastated the Philippines in November last year.
More than 6,000 people lost their lives in the storm, which was the strongest ever recorded at landfall.
Steven Latham, 44, who also lives in the Rickmansworth Road hostel, said: "We have a rota for who is cooking and whoever’s turn it was had to come up with something with whatever we had.
"Lunches were the most difficult, chicken and ham were the first things to run out. We made do, but there were times when we had to eat pies and quiches and little bits all together.
"Nobody complained though, there was never a time when people were talking about things running out."
Grow provides medium and long term hostel accommodation to vulnerable and homeless men around Watford.
As well as a roof, the charity offers rehabilitation treatment for drug and alcohol users, in the form of a full-time programme lasting from three months to a year.
The charity runs three hostels in Watford, and has received donations from Watford FC and Brentford FC which they plan to raffle.
Ricky Cresswell, head of treatment at the charity, said: "The storm was brought up in one of our morning meetings. The guys were really touched by the disaster in the Philippines.
"We did some research and found someone who was working for the Red Cross, who knew a family who’d lost everything.
"The money will used to buy new materials and a new generator so they rebuild their house."
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