In the run up to Christmas, the staff from Spire Leeds Hospital are helping the Leeds North and West Food Bank to make sure local families have enough food.
Every Friday, the staff are packing food parcels, organising deliveries….whatever tasks are needed. Tabs Chaudhary, one of the volunteers:
“We are living in unprecedented times with the devastating effect of Coronavirus and I’ve never seen so many people suffering the impact and struggling for work in the Leeds area. It feels good to be able do something that has a positive impact on our local community.”
This year in particular has brought the issue of poverty more starkly to the fore, with sudden changes in circumstances such as the loss of income having a devastating impact on family life and security, although it is ever the case that an accident, illness or marriage breakdown are sadly common factors.
During COVID-19, Leeds has seen a dramatic increase in the number of families who have had to ask for help. The Leeds North and West Food Bank is operating on the basis of deliveries only. The Spire’s Katie Alston:
“I’m happy to help provide this vital service supplying emergency food parcels for those in short term need. The logistics involved in getting the food parcels out to those who need them are quite complex and The Food Bank is extremely well organised. It’s comforting to know that this organisation is helping families in these times of crisis.”
Karen Burgon, who is Project Director of Leeds North and West Food Bank, part of Trussell Trust Food Banks located across the UK:
“We’ve seen an increase in people turning to food banks for the first time as the impact of the second lockdown means families that haven’t been vulnerable in the past are finding themselves in this situation. It’s good to have more hands on deck, particularly in the run up to Christmas. We could not operate without our passionate and inspiring volunteers who give up their precious time to help people in a crisis. They are the lifeblood of the Food Bank. Storing, packing and delivering the food parcels across the Leeds Region takes a huge amount of co-ordination and our volunteers help make that happen.”
Donations come from several sources – supermarkets and their customers, local schools and the families of their students, churches and their congregation, local businesses and individuals. These collections ensure the Food Bank regularly distributes over 100 parcels each week. These contain dry goods – tins and packets, as well as essentials like toilet paper and toothpaste.
Over the past 12 weeks, 1,234 parcels for 2,729 people have been delivered. 1,015 of those people are children.
Spire’s help doesn’t stop at volunteering. All of Spire Healthcare’s hospitals’ staff are giving £250 which Spire will match. Spire’s food supplier, Bidfood, has pledged donations in food. The Trussell Trust will receive all of the funds before Christmas.
Earlier this year, Spire Leeds hospital staff successfully met the challenge to fill an 8 metre high staircase with food items for the Food Bank, and there are more initiatives planned for next year.
If you feel inspired by these efforts to help feed those who need our help, visit here and click on Give help.
Photograph provided by Lisa Allen PR.