February brought with it severe weather including Storm Eunice which meant torrential downpours and a drop in temperature. This made COA’s outdoor distribution very difficult but we were there every week as we have been for the past 10.5 years.

The couple of hours we spend outdoors for the distribution is nothing in comparison to the difficulties our guests faced trying to make it through the storm.

For the first time, we provided guests with a barber service thanks to the Believe and Do Good team. Unfortunately, it was raining heavily and there were very strong winds so the tent they brought kept flying away however they were determined, thinking on their feet and so worked under the cover of umbrellas using head torches. The guests were so happy that it will hopefully not be the last time we provide this service.

In addition to this, in the strong winds and rains, we distributed winter packs with the help of Hand on Heart. The packs included thermals, hot water bottles, hoodies, socks, underwear, and toiletries.

The rain provided an additional challenge, much of the packaging in which our food is distributed is recyclable cardboard, brilliant for the planet, but difficult to keep intact in a downpour.

We also had a first-time donor, who sent over 100 cans of drinks! It was amazing to see and a rare treat for our guests!

Let’s hope March brings with it milder conditions.