lockdown lunches delivered
A speedily created project to deliver free hot meals to struggling families and individuals with specific needs in Crook during the coronavirus pandemic has been launched with support from believe housing.
The ‘Meal Orchard’ initiative has brought together local businesses, community groups and one of the region’s largest housing associations to combat hunger and hardship during the coronavirus lockdown.
The project will see free meals delivered across the Crook area to families who are struggling due to the lack of free school meals during coronavirus closures. It will also help individuals who are either unable to shop or are suffering financially as a result of the pandemic
Around 200 nutritious, hot meals a week will be cooked by volunteers from Ashbartons Catering Services. Food has been donated by the local business community including Ravi Siva from the Premier Shop in Crook town centre.
Delivery will be carried out by staff from believe housing who are currently unable to undertake their normal duties. The County Durham-based housing association has also agreed to provide £500 of funding to the project to make delivery possible when staff and vehicles return to work across neighbourhoods in due course.
Deliveries are being made to communities across the Crook area every Tuesday and Thursday for at least ten weeks. This includes Helmington Row, Howden le Wear, Fir Tree, North Bitchburn and High Grange.
The whole initiative has been spearheaded by County Councillors representing Crook, Cllrs Anne Reed and Patricia Jopling, with assistance from the Three Towns Area Action Partnership.
Cllr Anne Reed said: “It’s time to make a difference and that difference is needed at this moment in time. I’m sure that these hot meals will be well received by the people in our community who are going through a difficult period due to coronavirus.”
Reverend Linda Lindsay, Associate Priest St Catherine’s Church Crook said: “With our church building closed and many services and outreach or support programmes suspended, we are delighted to support this project that is aimed at reaching out to the people of this community at this time when many individuals and families are finding things difficult in so many ways.
“We would like to thank those who have given so generously of their time and supported the project financially in order to get this project off the ground.”
Neighbourhood Manager at believe housing, Liz Bradley, said: “This is a fabulous example of all sectors from the community coming together to make a real difference during such difficult times. We were more than happy to help with vehicles and drivers to carry out the deliveries at a time when so much work normally carried out in our neighbourhoods is just not possible because of social distancing restrictions.
“We’ve also been able to provide £500 through our Coronavirus Crisis Fund to ensure that deliveries will still be able to take place whenever our staff and vehicles do return to their normal roles.”
Anyone in the Crook area who wants to register for a free, hot meal can contact the Meal Orchard project on 07856 358 692.
Pictured above: Reverend Linda Lindsay, Shaun Temby, Cllr Patricia Jopling and Cllr Anne Reed.