Less than a fortnight into lockdown, more than 3million people in the UK went hungry according to YouGov research commissioned by the Food Foundation. As we enter our 4th week, the situation is unprecedented and as the crisis deepens it has the potential to see many more vulnerable people miss meals due to isolation and economic uncertainty.
Manchester is no exception to this national struggle, with foodbanks reporting shortages of essential items whilst demand has increased. Many of the grants we’re awarding from our We Love Manchester Charity Covid-19 Community Response Fund are supporting charities, organisations and foodbanks which are dealing with this need, but food insecurity in the city remains a daunting challenge.
In response, We Love MCR Charity is today (15th April 2020) awarding a further £150,000 to thirteen trusted organisations tackling food insecurity in Manchester right now. This is the largest dedicated package of funds released in the Charity’s history, and we’re immensely proud to be able to assist people in this city who could otherwise be going hungry.
Mark Game, CEO of The Bread & Butter Thing who were awarded the largest grant in the package (£75,000) had this to say about their work in the face of this crisis:
“TBBT already has 8000+ members but we are seeing those numbers grow each week, so there are more and more people and families to feed. As well as maintaining our service across our 28 communities, we’ve teamed up with Manchester City Council and the Modern Milkman to offer a door-to-door delivery service for the ill, elderly and isolated. We started two weeks ago 60 household deliveries but are now doing almost 800 a week and that’s growing too.
We are also having to connect with new sources of food, and bring on board new team members, new vans and new facilities, so this grant funding from We Love Manchester has come at the perfect time to help support the critical work we’re doing for citizens across the city.”
The thirteen food relief organisations and the amounts awarded to them are:
The Bread & Butter Thing – £75,000
Open Kitchen – £25,000
His Church – £24,000
Church Of The Apostles/Barnabus – £15,000
Mustard Tree – £5,000
Rainbow Surprise – £2,500
Compassion Food Bank – £500
Emmeline’s Pantry – £500
Ardwick & Longsight Food Bank – £500
The Tree Of Life – £500
The Salvation Army Openshaw – £500
Christian Restoration Manchester – £500
Well Of Hope – £500
Head of We Love MCR, Ged Carter, says:
“Getting food to people in need is one of our Community Response Fund’s top priorities, so we’re thrilled to make these grant awards today. Of course we couldn’t do this without the generous support of everyone who has donated already. I’d particularly like to thank The Hut Group and Savannah Wisdom charitable foundation for their incredibly generous donations which are helping us to make these large grants to our vital food banks.”
The organisations chosen, and the amount granted to each, was decided in partnership with Manchester City Council’s Food Response Team, who are mapping the city’s need, providers and resources in order to create a comprehensive food distribution network supporting any Manchester residents who find themselves unable to access food.
We hear from Corin Bell, Director at Open Kitchen, one of the grant recipients, who are a registered Not For Profit running Manchester’s only waste food catering enterprise:
“The impact of COVID-19 on our most vulnerable citizens has been devastating. Those who were rough sleepers and used to rely on passers by to support them find the streets empty. People who were already reliant on food banks find their support centres closed due to lack of donations or lack of volunteers. People who are elderly, isolated and reliant on family members or neighbours to shop for them find themselves with little or no support, as people around them are forced to isolate. Very early, it became clear that the impacts would be most severe for those who were already disadvantaged, and we’ve felt compelled to step in and step up to help.
We changed our entire operating model in 5 days, and starting producing good home-cooked meals for those who were most in need – people who weren’t well enough to cook for themselves, people who were elderly and might have mobility issues or dementia, people who had been street homeless and were placed in temporary accommodation with access to only a fridge and a microwave.
We’re currently producing 1,200 meals per day (6,000 meals a week) for vulnerable people across our city. With this new support, we’ll scale up as quickly as we safely can to try and keep up with demand as it grows, and deliver 10,000 meals a week to support people and reduce hunger… if demand is still rising, we’ll scale up again.“
We are not at the end of this crisis, and neither are our efforts to do what we can, as Manchester’s Charity, to support Manchester. We will continue to fund groups on the frontline of this crisis, as we have done since it started – releasing over £300,000 in grants to over 100 Manchester organisations in just three weeks. And more is yet to come.
This can only be done with the generosity of so many people willing to look after their city and their communities in the face of unprecedented adversity. If you’re able to, please donate to the Covid-19 Community Response Fund here.