The Pineapple Project
How Gloria Gardner, housekeeper at St Mary’s, led local response to Covid-19
When lockdown was announced last March, Gloria Gardner, the housekeeper at St Mary’s, immediately recognised the catastrophic implications for street sleepers. Gloria has been housekeeper at the Presbytery for the last 7 years, combining this with working at Waitrose Belgravia and volunteering six months each year at the Glassdoor charity for the homeless. This meant she was ideally placed to coordinate donations and work with individuals from other local charities to set up an emergency response system.
Gloria began soliciting donations from Waitrose and making sandwiches in St Mary’s presbytery kitchen, which she took out into the streets along with bottles of water. In the first days Gloria was most struck by the absolute desperation for water; with food outlets and public facilities closed there was nowhere to get a drink. She quickly noticed that among some of the homeless there was also a craving for sweet foods and so Fr Andrew reached out to members of the local community. Soon there was a cottage industry of sandwich makers and cake bakers delivering supplies to the church porch. These would be cut up and packaged for the evening, when Gloria would head out with flasks of hot tea to deliver supplies to those in need. Clothes, toiletries and other essentials also found their way to the church porch, where a team sorted them for distribution under Gloria’s care.
One of the charities Gloria worked with, Under One Sky, has told the story in this film.
The project was wound down in July as lockdown eased and the emphasis moved to finding longer-term solutions. However, with winter approaching and the crisis still with us, the community is gearing up to meet the challenge again.
Stripping out and providing support!
First images of the new hall – not quite finished!
Where ‘guest of honour’ (as far as we’re concerned) was St Mary’s wonderful housekeeper Gloria Gardiner
The Pineapple Project enters the last stretch to reach its updated fundraising target of £1.7 million
The work at St Mary’s Church and Francis Holland School are recognised at the Belgravia Awards
We end the year on a high note as City Bridge Trust, Belgravia Forum and Westminster City Council bring us closer to our target.
A landmark moment for the Pineapple Project
Mayoral recognition for Gloria Gardner’s work with the homeless
Fr Andrew’s work in the community is recognised at the Belgravia Awards
The Parochial Church Council have agreed a lasting memorial to Fr Bill Scott, former and much loved incumbent of the parish who died last summer.
Drawing by John Springs