Hunslet Fire Station help deliver food to the vulnerable in Holbeck13th September 2020
Leeds City Council is providing 50 food parcels every week for Holbeck Together to support those who are shielding or unable to get out themselves. The packs include vital food supplies and are a lifeline for many living locally.
So it seemed like perfect timing when the crew at Hunslet Fire Station offered to help out delivering the parcels. The team at Hunslet Fire Station were eager to lend a hand and delivered 50 parcels to families and older members of the community in style – distributing the parcels in one of their fire engines!
“It was one of the lads’ ideas and it just took off from there. As firefighters, we’re here to help people and it seemed like something straightforward that we could do that would make a difference. It was great to say hi to people and see how they’re doing.” Mike Ferries, Watch Commander, Hunslet Fire Station.
As well as dropping off the essential items, they stopped to check-in with people and see how they were, whilst observing social distancing measures. For many of the recipients, the volunteers are the only people they see in a day.
“I just want to say thank you to the lovely firefighters who dropped off my package. It was just so nice to see someone. I only wish I could have invited them in.” Janet Armstrong, Holbeck Together client.
The firefighters have supported the response for the last two weeks and have committed to continue wherever capacity allows.
“It was so helpful to have the help of West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue. Delivering 50 food parcels in one day takes a lot of work. We couldn’t have got supplies out so quickly, but they made it look easy!” Claire Holmes, Operations and Service Officer, Holbeck Together.
As with many charities, Holbeck Together have shifted their usual support services to a remote delivery model. Instead of welcoming older members of the community to daily lunches, they now provide hot nutritious meals to people’s doors with an optional supper-time add-on. Instead of assisting people to shop for themselves, they are now offering a shopping and delivery service, which can include prescriptions and other essential pick-ups. The support, advice and advocacy services usually provided in person are now delivered by phone by a team of staff and volunteers.
Holbeck Together report that the success of this new delivery model has been possible due to the fantastic volunteers who have pitched in to help out. Whether it’s someone living locally helping with food preparation, making deliveries or keeping in touch with someone who is isolated and experiencing loneliness; a local business donating food or other resources; or an organisation such as West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue pitching in where they can: the collective effort is helping the community to stay well and connected, despite the obstacles.
It is the social disconnection that people without technological devices particularly suffer from, that a friendly call or letter can help to combat. If you know of someone who could be supported by Holbeck Together or you would like to help out with the community response yourself, please contact Holbeck Together on 0113 245 5553. If you would like to contribute financially please visit the United Together page at www.virginmoneygiving.com/fund/United-Together