Lola Idris-Debayo, founder of the charity Lolo Foundation which organises the bi-monthly free feeding of London’s homeless has won the Points of Light award in recognition of her outstanding selfless acts of charity to some of society’s most deprived.
Founded over 15 years ago after her own personal experience with destitution, Lolo Foundation has consistently provided support in form of food and utilities for vulnerable families and individuals across London.
According to Idris-Debayo, she was motivated to set up Lolo Foundation following her own experience with homelessness after arriving from her native Nigeria. She thus decided to give back to those who are going through the same situation she found herself in her early days in the United Kingdom.
Twice a month, Lolo Foundation hosts food donation points, providing food for hundreds of people, including Lola’s home-cooked Nigerian meals. Lola has also expanded the foundation to Nigeria, where four times a year it provides humanitarian assistance for some of the most vulnerable people in Lagos, with as many as 700 people provided with food in a single day through their efforts.
Ecstatic at the recognition, Lola said:
“I have been on this journey with my family for 19 years and my journey is a personal one as I was once homeless when I came to the United Kingdom. My partner met me on the street and to see one of our boy’s play football for England was one of the biggest awards God gave us. Now to be nominated for this award is an amazing grace. I am very excited and extremely humbled to accept this award.
“I would like to dedicate this award especially to my partner of 30 years, as he celebrated his birthday on the 22nd of June, and to my family and friends who have been with me on this journey and to all the organisations who have made it possible for me to continue to do what I do, such as Fareshare and Nando’s. And finally the homeless people in London who have allowed me to feed and eat with them regularly. Our main goal for the foundation is to continue to cater for the homeless people and vulnerable families around London and also to create awareness about homelessness and ways to bring the causes of this situation to its minimum.”
The Points of Light award recognises outstanding individual volunteers – people who are making a change in their community.
Lola is the mother of James Debayo, England U-17 star – one of her football playing sons.