Feeding hope to those hit by COVID

Bro Kevin Gold loading up with essential foodstuffs

COVID-19 has had an enormous effect on our society, not just from its considerable physical and mental health consequences but also the economic impact, particularly on those most vulnerable.

According to the Legatum Institute, 700,000 people have been pushed into poverty by the crisis, a finding backed by the Trussell Trust, which says that food banks are due to give out six emergency food parcels a minute this winter, a 61% increase.

Freemasonry has responded with its customary willingness to support those at their lowest ebb. The latest initiative was led by Companions Campbell Carraher and Kevin Gold, both members of Argus Chapter, No. 5903, who decided to provide practical assistance to local food banks who are, not surprisingly, struggling to cope with the additional demand on their services.

The Companions launched an appeal for food and cash donations, on behalf of the Hillingdon food bank, part of the Trussel Trust, and the Rickmansworth food bank organised by Mill End Community Trust (MECT).

Over £1,000 was raised from Lodges, Chapters and individual Masons, which the Companions (having consulted the food banks) spent on essential foodstuffs which they purchased and delivered to the food banks themselves.

Bro Kevin Gold with donated food and one of the volunteer managers of the Rickmansworth foodbank

Under the COVID-19 restrictions, voluntary efforts for charitable work with food banks is an allowable reason for travel.

In a thank you letter to the Companions, MECT said that from April to December 2020 it has provided 2,562 people with food, compared to around 1,200 in a typical 12 months.

“We continue to purchase fresh food and vegetables to offer clients at the food bank, and fresh meat during the school holidays, to which one parent cried out: “I now know that I can provide a hot meal every day for the family”.

Hillingdon food bank also wrote to thank the Companions for their assistance which ‘will go a long way to help kick hunger off our streets and the community as a whole”.

Companions Campbell Carraher and Kevin Gold said, “We decided to do what we could to help families who are struggling to put food on their tables. The food banks are built on compassion, integrity and are committed to restoring dignity and providing hope.”

Vine Daniels, Hillingdon foodbank Manager (r) and Assistants Alison Kemish (m) and Wendy Hardy (l)

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