Counterfeit goods are recycled and redistributed to the poor and needy
They say faith will move mountains. And in this case it's mountains of counterfeit goods. Step forward local charity His Church.
The Bedfordshire-based organisation has come up with an innovative idea that ticks all the eco and ethical boxes – it recycles counterfeit goods and redistributes them to the poor and needy. It also salvages food and other goods that otherwise would have been consigned to landfill.
And it all started with an 8 Morrison voucher, according to the church's charity co-ordinator Richard Humphrey, 33.
"God made us a promise to bring food and feed his people," he says. "We began small and with faith we have become bigger."
The former newspaper recruitment ad manager is brimming over with love of the Lord and mankind generally.
"We debrand and rebrand," he beams. "We've evolved by providing solutions to people's problems."
His Church is subdivided into His Food, His Clothes and His Supplies.
Its temple is its people – about 30 at last count. Their HQ is a four-acre site in north Bedfordshire but they've already expanded into an aircraft hangar in Lincolnshire. And while it may have begun with a simple supermarket voucher, it has developed into a massive redistribution operation that is absolutely staggering, no matter how it's measured.
Richard bubbles with enthusiasm for what His Church has achieved – thanks to its CEO, Jesus. "We are led by the Lord," he says.
In the past six months, the charity redistributed more than 200,000 kg of food and thousands upon thousands of clothes that would have been destroyed.
It provided last year's Yorkshire flood victims with instant aid and has also helped vulnerable people in Europe and Africa.
Last year several container loads of goods were sent to Liberia. Vice President Joseph N. Boakai expressed his heartfelt gratitude in a letter which said: "May Almighty God continue to shower His manifold benedictions on your efforts in your quest to provide for the needy."
His Church works in partnership with local Trading Standards chiefs who all sing its praises.
Team leader Gina Green said: "We have a real win/win relationship with the charity. Not only do they solve a storage problem for us, but it's great to know that counterfeit goods will be used to help homeless and underprivileged people, rather than being destroyed."
Logos are removed from fake or illegal designer clothing and the items rebranded with a genuine His Church label. Documentary evidence is provided to show where they go and what a difference they make.
The scale of growth has been amazing, according to Richard Humphrey: "The aircraft hangar is raised to the roof with food, clothing and supplies.
"Everything is perfect quality, nothing is past its sell-by date. There could have been a labelling issue – tins could have been wrongly labelled – or maybe the products were end-of-line or left-overs.
"We were given 20 pallets of margarine because a supermarket pulled its promotion and similar amounts of pasta because it was the wrong shape.
"The manufacturers have a problem because they can't sell or store them – so if we take the products and recycle them, it saves going to landfill."
The charity also has an industrial granulating machine that destroys counterfeit CDs and DVDs and turns the reclaimed plastic into coating for pencils. The charity's own DVDs – Rags To Riches and Urgent Detergent – were burned on to discs confiscated from a pornography centre.
His Church was founded six years ago by former coach company supremo Trevor Cockings.
His knowledge of logistics and ability to co-ordinate aid and relief has been immensely useful in the distribution of recycled goods both here and abroad.
Richard joined two years ago. "It was a divine appointment," he recalls. "God called me and it was the right thing to do."
Although His Church is a Christian organisation, anyone is eligible for its aid. Local charities that have benefited include NSPCC shelters, women's aid refugees and government Sure Start and Home Start centres.
"We give to everyone, no matter what their creed or colour," Richard says.
"We don't preach but we try to get the message across by what we do.
"And we do what the Bible tells us. It is the ultimate good news story."
>> For more information contact His Church on 01933 623236 or email email@example.com.