15 April 2020
Connect Aid’s Food Share Project in Shropshire is just one of many community organisations continuing to work hard to ensure people in need still have access to food during the coronavirus pandemic.
Having put in place special measures in line with social distancing guidelines, a group of volunteers are providing food to people from the Park Lane Centre in Woodside.
Lea Beven, project leader and founder of Connect Aid explains how they have adapted to continue providing food to people in the community: “We are now situated in one fixed place and set up as a sterile location, with everything being cleaned every couple of hours with disinfectant.
“We’re using a new booking system, via Booksy, so people can book a time slot to come and pick up food. We’re set up like a market, there’s a bread table, one for veg, one for treats. People come in at their allotted time, they have to use sanitiser when they come in. We have ropes around the tables and are asking people not to touch any of the food.
“We are in crisis mode so we’re asking people to only take what they absolutely need – if they have something already at home, we ask them to not take it. We’re also getting referrals directed from council enquiries asking if people can come to us for food, so we’re directing everyone to our Facebook page or Booksy app where they can book in a time slot.
“People are asked not to just turn up because if there are too many people here at a time we run the risk of being shut down.
“We’re also offering a drive through service for isolated and disabled clients and have a coned area outside. People can pull up in their cars and we will take the food out to them.
“Just today, we’ve got 48 clients coming to pick food up but we’re having to limit it to one slot per family, otherwise there just wouldn’t be enough food for everyone who needs it.
“We’ve also had to buy two large freezers and and extra fridge to store some of the food we received from other retailers, like Burger King. We’re trying to only give out these items when we sense there is a need for an extra meal.
“Every day we’ve got people coming in that are bringing us to tears. If they get a chance to have a quick chat with us, many of them are telling us they’ve had to come to us because they’ve got nothing in at home. One man told us that his wife has cancer so is in the ‘at-risk’ group but they just don’t have any food in.
“It’s just breaking our hearts every day. Everyone is soldiering on and pulling together to help.”