The Salvation Army is preparing thousands of meals and food parcels to help struggling families and other vulnerable people to make it through the summer.
Church and community centres (known as corps) are preparing for an increase in people turning to them for help as the long-term impact of the coronavirus continues. To support this emergency action, The Salvation Army has launched a fundraising campaign to help feed families and other vulnerable people, such as those experiencing homelessness, who are exposed to ‘holiday hunger’.
The Salvation Army’s Director of Community Services for the UK, Tony Daniels said: “When the UK locked-down, Salvation Army officers stepped up and provided food and support for those hardest hit. From mothers desperate for baby milk formula to people unable to leave the house for food, we were reaching deep into communities to help the most vulnerable people.
“Every year we help people through holiday hunger as the summer brings new financial strains especially for families struggling to feed and care for children who would normally be in school as well as buying uniforms. This year we are preparing for the demand for our help to soar. The coronavirus safety net is now being removed; the furlough scheme is in its final stages, protection from eviction is ending and the economy is stalling.
“We know families are struggling and many other vulnerable people such as those who are homeless will be in need. Please support our campaign to help us be there for those who turn to us for help.”
Early on in the pandemic The Salvation Army was already seeing more people ask for help and is prepared to continue to support the community should the predicted second wave occur. A snapshot food distribution survey of UK Salvation Army corps1 during one week revealed that the number of families and vulnerable people that The Salvation Army had helped with food and other necessities had increased by over 60 per cent.
Just some examples of support that The Salvation Army has provided during the coronavirus pandemic includes:
- The church in Harwich, Essex, provided food for over 500 members of the local community through delivering 95 summer food boxes for vulnerable families in the town.
- In Stapleford, Nottinghamshire, the church packed 150 food parcels from early April to the middle of May during the national lockdown for local schools and it continues to pack 50 parcels a week for families of three schools in the local community.
- In North Wales, the Wrexham church and community centre has worked alongside the local authority since the national lockdown to provide 60 meals a day for those in the town experiencing homelessness with over 3,000 meals having already been provided.
- In just one week a newly formed Salvation Amy food distribution hub at Cradley Heath in the West Midlands sent out 355 bags of food for needy families and single people hardest hit by the coronavirus.
- In Worcester, West Midlands, more than 15,000 meals have been made and distributed for those experiencing homelessness across the city who have been rehoused in hotels, bed and breakfast accommodation and centres during lockdown.
- In Kent and Sussex the South East Division’s Emergency Response team of volunteers have visited around 40 NHS and Police community sites to provide drinks and snacks for staff including serving over 10,000 bacon or egg rolls. So far they have already fed over 7,500 key workers.
To donate to the summer appeal and help support thousands of families and people in poverty visit www.salvationarmy.org.uk/supporting-parents-and-children-who-need-it-most.
Main image: Head Teacher Sally Beardsley of William Lilley School supports a pupil and his mum.