The community support team has seen a huge increase in demand during these uncertain times. The school closures caused great concerns for many families whose children usually receive free school meals, suddenly struggling to manage the cost of having the children home. Others are struggling to get food while self isolating or finding it hard to manage on reduced income. Whilst we had to sadly close our doors to the public we quickly mobilised to set up a telephone based service that enabled us to continue to provide support. To date, the support line has taken over 250 calls. We have given out benefit advice, supported people to access vital grants and been an essential point of contact for those feeling vulnerable and in need of some practical support.
Your Local Pantry and Working Well
The Dusty Forge Pantry has been operating as a pre-packaged delivery service. We initially offered this service to existing Pantry members and expanded this to those vulnerable and shielding. As time has moved on, we refocused our efforts on supporting working families who are ineligible for the free school meals replacement as well as those shielding. We began by delivering 25 parcels a week. Each parcel includes chilled produce, bread and pasta, fresh fruit and vegetables. By securing additional funding and sourcing more food we can now deliver 45 parcels a week. Since the beginning of April we have delivered over 200 parcels to the local community. Miss C, who is shielding due to COPD, has been receiving weekly deliveries and said that she has come to rely not only on the food, but also the friendly faces who deliver it.