This week, Caritas Westminster has sent out over £30,000 in emergency food vouchers to be distributed by parishes and schools to those most in need. The COVID-19 pandemic has left many people in a difficult financial position as businesses close, work dries up and budgets have to stretch further whilst children are out of school.
Caritas Westminster already work with many parishes and schools, who do all they can to alleviate food poverty in their local area. However, the pandemic has meant it is hard to safely distribute food, and many volunteers have had to self-isolate, leading to the closure of many projects.
As some support services have had to close, the need for help has increased. To address this, Caritas Westminster has developed the new Caritas Emergency Food Voucher Scheme, which offers a way to give immediate food relief, both remotely and safely. The supermarket vouchers can be sent digitally, posted, or given in person (following safety guidelines), which will then enable those who are struggling to buy the necessaties for their families.
Caritas saw a huge response to the scheme from parishes and schools with 62 signing up to participate. Many felt this would make a huge difference to their communities, where they know of many people who have lost work or are unable to continue working, as they fall into the ‘high risk’ category. Fr Richard Nesbitt, Parish Priest at Our Lady of Fatima RC Church in White City said, ‘this is a really great initiative which I know will bring very real help to lots of people struggling at this time’.
Anna Gavurin, Coordinator of the Caritas Food Collective, said ‘it has been amazing to see the commitment of Catholic Churches and Schools in Westminster Diocese to continue doing all they can to help those most in need during this crisis. After speaking with them, we realised there was an urgent need for Caritas to provide practical support to enable them to give out food relief as quickly and safely as possible. Our new emergency voucher scheme will do this and we are pleased to have sent out £31,000 this week to provide that urgently needed relief. We hope to help as many people as we can and to build on this scheme in the future.’
If you would like to support this work you can donate to the Cardinal’s Appeal, which has been extended to raise funds to help deal with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic – please donate here.
If your parish or school are in need of support to help those in your community please contact email@example.com and we will do our best to help!