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sufra: making a difference in the community

Angela Lewis, Community Operations Manager at Makor Hayim

We were delighted to welcome guests from Sufra at our Kabbalat Shabbat on Friday. Sufra is a local charity based in Brent’s most disadvantaged neighbourhood. They provide their ‘guests’ with the food and support they urgently need to survive, empower them to learn new skills and improve their wellbeing, and help them find work and become financially stable. Building on our value of Tzedek (Justice), we want to continue to build our relationships with the wider local community and Sufra offers us a wonderful opportunity for an active partnership.

We heard from Nina Parmar, Logistics and Volunteer Coordinator about the full range of the services they provide, Prince Teya, the Community Chef who has just gone from working from 1 day a week to full time to meet the needs of the community, as well as Haseena Ismail a long standing volunteer alongside her husband and now her children.

Sufra are always looking for volunteers including Telephone volunteers, or helping in their kitchen or Community Garden. You can see their full list of vacancies here.

A number of Makor Hayim Builders have got involved at Sufra including Tarryn Klotnick who has been volunteering for 10 months now. She tells us of her experiences:

Why did you start volunteering with Sufra?

A fellow Builder, Kate Lebow was influential in my decision. She was sharing her own experiences volunteering for Sufra and my ear sparked up. I love volunteering and have not flexed this muscle enough since my son was born. I saw Sufra as an opportunity to give to the local community in a way that was much needed.

What made you personally want to get involved?

I am a foodie and have volunteered in different ways for various food charities, including Gefiltefest and FEAST. Something about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs – the food in our bellies; which, in 2021 is harrowing to think is a struggle for so many people. Through my years of work with vulnerable families, I witnessed first-hand the impact of food poverty and empty cupboards. I wanted to help and I wanted to give to my local community in a way which is useful.

What do you do for them?

I volunteer for 4 hours in the Sufra kitchen every other week. I help prepare meals for 80-120 people. I chat to other volunteers and absolutely adore the Chef, Prince. He is always calm and clear about what needs doing and he manages us so gracefully.

Why should other Builders get involved?

When I leave the Sufra kitchen every fortnight, my heart feels full. I feel so humbled to contribute in this small way. A small difference which makes a big difference to the team at Sufra and in the lives of vulnerable people. Sufra is an opportunity to get involved with our vulnerable neighbours and to build relationships with our wider community.

Other Makor Hayim volunteers also share their feedback:

“There are two things I especially love about volunteering at Sufra. One is the way the users of Sufra’s services are treated as honored guests. The other is the wide-ranging conversations that happen in the kitchen, in the garden, or around the table. Somewhere else, we’d be strangers; at Sufra, we’re all part of the team, from first-time volunteer to long-time staff member.” - Kate Lebow

“At a time of so much political and ecological chaos and uncertainty, it has been a pleasure to volunteer at Sufra. It's a relief to know that there is a warm, inclusive place in our neighbourhood that offers not just meals lovingly prepared by the expert master chef, Prince, but also a host of other services, from housing help to counseling advice, for some of the most vulnerable members in Brent.” - Andrew L.

“The people at Sufra are really nice to collaborate with; they give clear instructions about what you need to do, and are really friendly!” - Jacob L.

“It is humbling to experience both the effort taken by so many dedicated volunteers and the need of so many vulnerable people. The one day at Christmas is enough to write a book …. and to want to change the world.” - Michael Brada

Volunteering at Sufra on Christmas Day felt like such a valuable, hands on way to make a tangible difference to our vulnerable neighbours lives at a time when the struggle is more real than ever. I'm excited to go back again (this week!) to keep cooking and helping out however I can". - Adam Rossano

If you’re inspired to volunteer at Sufra and want to learn more, please contact Tarryn Klotnick:

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