Since lockdown, this fantastic organisation has not been able to hold their weekly Link Lunch Club at St. Luke’s Church Centre for around 55 elderly and vulnerable local Beccles and Worlingham residents. With the relevant permission from the District Council and the church authorities the team, led by church warden Fran Tuck, have been able to ‘go mobile’ and offer those vulnerable, shielding or self-isolating, a weekly take away meal, delivered to their door.
The team have maintained this delivery service for almost a year now. A team of around 12 volunteers do it all – from working in the kitchen preparing the meals, packing, labelling and delivering. There was even a take-away Christmas Dinner and tea which was so welcomed by those on their own at this time.
Because of the general age and vulnerability of most of their clients, they are yet to confirm a time when they can return the original service gathering everyone together in person, so for now they continue to keep in touch with meal deliveries and phone calls.
As time has gone on and the country goes in and out of lockdown, the team began to realise that people needed some more immediate help with food supplies, so the team at Link Lunch Club have added in an additional weekly service called the “Beccles Parish Pantry”, enabling anyone to come along and, if possible, pay £2 to fill one of their carrier bags with tinned and packaged goods, hygiene items and fresh fruit and vegetables, eggs and bread.
The grant from the Foundation has allowed Link Lunch Club to continue the delivery meal service – to buy food, disposable boxes and bags, appropriate PPE and contribute towards the petrol for the volunteer delivery drivers, as well as set up this additional service of a localised ‘foodbank’ that has proved so vital in the latter part of the pandemic.
We are so grateful for the generous grant from the Suffolk Community Foundation Coronavirus Fund, because it has enabled us to not only provide meals, but also maintain a contact with our elderly and vulnerable people, via the delivery drivers, and also phone each ‘diner’ every week, which gives us the opportunity to ask if they need help in any other way.