As we settle in to 2023, I wanted to share how proud I am of the team and how we well and truly lived our agency’s fifth value, Do Good, last year.
Some of you may have seen our 2022 Christmas ‘card’ already (below) and I wanted to dive into more detail on what we’ve been up to and how we’re meeting our goal of being a positive force for good for our local community, and the planet.
Read on to find out more on how we’ve supported the Kingston Trussell Trust, our team’s own charity initiatives and development, and expanded our investment in reforestation.
Caption: A summary of Wildfire’s Do Good efforts in 2022
Helping to beat food poverty
The number of people in the UK impacted by the cost of living crisis is growing exponentially, with many households having to put off paying major bills due to additional Christmas expenses according to Which?.
Many UK households are also struggling to buy the essentials. Trussell Trust has declared an Emergency Fund Appeal and is currently supplying a food parcel every 13 seconds! Without support, Trussell Trust can’t help those people locked in poverty due to the current climate.
It’s stats like this that make us feel more than ever how important it is to support our local community. Despite the uphill battle, we hope to help Kingston Trussell Trust in its vision to empower people to break free from poverty and one day no longer need to use a food bank.
Christmas hamper packing
Most recently, in the run up to Christmas, we helped to pack and deliver 1,100 festive food packages across South West London through a Kingston Trussell Trust initiative with City Change Projects.
With an early 6.30am start for some of us, we began by taping hundreds of flat-pack boxes ready for filling and bagged an insane amount of Brussels sprouts into individual paper bags. We then followed a well-oiled circuit of produce stations with essentials such as fresh veg and teabags, and goodies such as mince pies and shortbread, until each box was full and packed up and ready to go.
Not only did the team love giving back but meeting all the other wonderful volunteers on the day filled us with festive joy too. We can’t recommend enough getting involved in something similar in your local area if you get the chance!
Caption: The flat-pack boxes tapped and ready to go and then full of festive treats
Some of the team also volunteered their time to deliver 30 of the hampers the next morning to very grateful families across Kingston, Merton, Mitcham, Richmond, and Wimbledon. This was a really rewarding experience that I’m personally grateful to Wildfire for allowing me to partake in during working hours, and I can’t wait to help make even more of a positive impact in 2023!
Caption: The Wildfire team delivering 30 Christmas hampers in our local area
Future food drive
In May next year, we’ll be kicking off our first annual company collection as Kingston Trussell Trust is often short on donations at that time of year. It may surprise you (as it did us) to find out there are months that your local food bank will be lacking contributions as many people only think to donate during times known for giving to others, such as Christmas.
The reality of course is that supplies of food and hygiene products are needed all year around. Consider speaking to your local food bank to find out when they have shortages and make sure you consult their list of needed items each month rather than buy what you think they might want.
If you’d like to contribute to our food drive in May, please let someone on the team know and we’ll organise a donation from you of the food, household, and hygiene items most in demand at the time.
Kingston food pantry
Back in August 2022, we also helped Kingston Trussell Trust’s latest project with City Changer Projects and the Your Local Pantry Franchise to open Kingston’s first pantry. These pantries are all about dignity, choice, and hope for members who pay a small subscription of a few pounds a week, and in return can choose groceries worth circa five times more and benefit from free fruit and veg.
Located within Tolworth Recreation Centre, we transformed a grubby old staff room into a delightful space with a farm shop feel. Check out my previous blog for more information and pictures here. The pantry manager, Susan, tells us it’s a great success and that members want to stay beyond their allocated timeslot because they love the shopping experience so much!
While The Trussell Trust is the main charity we support as an agency, we also want to support the team and the charities closest to their hearts. Through our charity-matching initiative anyone can request for Wildfire to match the money they raise for their chosen organisation and take time off if needed to complete what they’ve chosen to do.
So far, Wildfire has donated an extra £630+ to three charities. Our account manager James ran a marathon to raise funds for the DEC Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal, account director Sammy hosted a MacMillan Cancer Support Coffee Morning, and I organised our Save The Children’s Christmas Jumper Day.
For Christmas Jumper Day, on Thursday 8th December, we all donned festive tops and jumpers to raise money for children in need in Kenya. Shockingly, 74,000 Kenyan children die before reaching the age of five every year. Not only did Wildfire double the money I raised, but this year for every £2 donated the UK government promised to give an extra £2 to Save the Children too, which will all go to helping children under five and new and expectant mums.
Planting trees where it matters
In addition to our charity efforts, we want to do our relative part in healing the environment too. As the climate crisis continues, we are contributing to reforestation in locations where it will make the most impact. To ensure we support tree planting where it’s needed most, and managed and measured appropriately, it’s important to us to be collaborating with EcoMatcher and its vetted foundations to plant in the right places at the right time.
Our first 1,000 trees were planted in Thailand in December 2021 with Conserve Natural Forests (CNF). The non-for-profit ensures effective forest restoration (measured by the conservation of biodiversity, ecological health, and carbon sequestration) and improves the quality of life of local communities too.
This year, we have chosen to plant 1,000 trees in Guatemala. The UN reports that Guatemala is especially vulnerable to climate change due to unpredictable rainfall, heatwave exposure, and the resulting droughts.
The Alliance for International Reforestation Guatemala (AIR) will ensure agroforestry methods that integrate in the local environment, planting nutritious crops while also protecting water sources and preventing the likes of erosion and mudslides so that farming is sustainable.
To date, we have sequestered 39,700 tonnes of CO2 and supported 10 families. We are excited to watch the trees grow, as well as help to improve the economic and environmental quality of life for local communities.
Here’s to 2023
Importantly, all of this went towards hitting our milestone of applying to be a B Corp too. Fingers crossed for good news of our certification in 2023!
If you’d like to support us in our efforts or would like us to support your initiative, please get in touch.