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Via Wing: Breaking the cycle of poverty in Northern Ireland

11 February 2021

“We’re aiming to break the cycle of poverty” says Gail Redmond, founder of charity Via Wings in Dromore, Northern Ireland, “and for us, the hand that reaches out with the bag of food is the hand that says we care. It is a step into the family unit that allows us to journey alongside each person striving to eradicate poverty and ensure positive life changes for disadvantaged people”.

Via Wings has been working with FareShare for over four years to provide nutritious food to the people of Dromore, currently serving some 122 families plus a number of elderly individuals. explains Gail. “Fareshare donations are collected in our chiller vans at least 3 times a week. Fresh produce is available in our Archway. The community are asked to take what they need and leave a donation if they can. Revenue generated through donations goes into our Dare2Care food store project, which supplies food and other essentials to people in need.”

Until March service users could come to Wellington House to collect food & essential items , but since the pandemic Via Wings has switched to a delivery model. “It’s lifechanging for a lot of people. We are different to other food banks in that we are able to supply chilled and frozen food as well as non-perishable goods. Fareshare helps us provide nutritious healthy food to those in need in the community.  Working in partnership with Fareshare, food otherwise destined for landfill is repurposed and available in our town.”

Nutritious food is especially important for growing children, whom Via Wings works with in their after school program Mini Wings: “We’re able to make sure all our kids are getting fresh fruit and a substantial snack. Parents are welcome to avail of the fresh food from FareShare in our Archway, which helps us to combat malnutrition, a very significant problem for children in this country. This has been a great help to parents and carers as children have been off school recently and not receiving school meals.”

At Via Wings, food is a way to start the journey to uplifting people: “We always say that what we do isn’t rocket science, what we do is we take time. It doesn’t matter how many people you have in a room, if you can’t reach them and you can’t find a gap in that cycle of poverty you’re not going to make an impact. Poverty is not just about money, it’s about deprivation, isolation, loneliness. Provision of food is just one part of a wraparound service that we offer to meet needs & change lives in our community.