Colleagues at our Dagenham store have been rallying round to help the families who've lost their homes and possessions in the devastating fires during the heatwave.
The store's community champion Gemma Gray came in on her day off to arrange £5,000 emergency funding from the Asda Foundation which bought food, bedding and clothes to residents of Ballards Road in Dagenham and in nearby Wennington whose properties were destroyed by out-of-control field fires.
Gemma, who's been community champion at the store for five years, said: "It's been absolutely heartbreaking – you just can't comprehend how this sort of thing can happen in your community, on your doorstep. It's just unthinkable. I'm just so glad that I was able to do something to help.
"Those poor families. It's just really, really sad. I spent the whole of yesterday in tears – tears of sadness for what has happened, and tears of joy for able to get some help for them.
"The Asda Foundation were amazing by arranging the funding so quickly and giving advice. I can't thank them enough."
Andy McQuade, our Dagenham store's operations manager, said colleagues were also donating goods as soon as they heard about the fires.
He said: "The Ballards Road estate which was affected is very close to the store and a lot of colleagues here know people who were affected. It was so hot here, touching 40 degrees.
"Our store manager Michael Achilleous also arranged for water to be given out to the firefighters who were tackling the fires too."
Peter Chand, chairman of Dagenham United Charity and former Dagenham mayor, who's pictured with Gemma said: "It’s been really difficult day for the residents in Ballards Road in Dagenham.
"The wild fires have devastated homes and people's belongings. Dagenham United Charity along with Councillor Margaret Mullane have responded with essentials that residents may need.Thank you to Asda House and Dagenham Asda and the one and only Gemma."