United Synagogue donates supermarket vouchers to asylum seekers during lockdown
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United Synagogue donates supermarket vouchers to asylum seekers during lockdown

One asylum seeker thanked the movement, saying: 'We really appreciate it, thank you for thinking of us, thank you for everything'

An asylum seeker’s child, who has not been named, being supported by United Synagogue
An asylum seeker’s child, who has not been named, being supported by United Synagogue

United Synagogue (US) has donated supermarket vouchers to around 100 asylum seekers who normally attend its drop-in centres, forced to close last month amid the lockdown.

The movement, which says the vouchers should provide support for a period of three months, is exploring safe ways to donate toiletries and nappies.

US provides asylum seekers with access to hot meals, clothing, a children’s play area, legal and medical advice, a supermarket voucher and a travel money.

But it was forced to close its two drop-in centres based in Hendon United Synagogue and Woodford Forest United Synagogue.

One asylum seeker, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “It is so difficult being an asylum seeker right now and I just don’t know what we’d have done with the United Synagogue’s help. We really appreciate it, thank you for thinking of us, thank you for everything…I don’t have words to thank you.”

Yael Peleg, director of strategy and development at the US Jewish living department, said: “The United Synagogue has rightly prioritised helping its members during this crisis, providing more than 1,000 Seder in a box kits and nearly 1,000 Pesach parcels for our most vulnerable families. We have also ensured that the asylum seekers who rely on our centres are also supported at this challenging time.

“We had been receiving heart-breaking phone calls from distressed asylum seekers but once the vouchers arrived there was such relief in their voices. It is right we have been able to help them in this way. In addition, we are still trying to find a safe system to send them some toiletries and nappies which are always in urgent need.”

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