Hartlepool food kitchen carries on in car park despite church closure
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The weekly St Aidan’s Kitchen operated outside from their car park on Thursday, March 26, for the first time since they opened in August 2017, as churches all around the country have been forced to shut as part of the effort to slow the spread of the virus.
But a small number of dedicated volunteers soldiered on despite the difficult circumstances to make sure anyone who needed their help got it.
Mother Gemma Sampson from St Aidan’s, in Oxford Street, urged people to spread the message that the project was not closed – just the building.
She urged people who need food and are able to get out to make it their essential daily trip out.
And friends and neighbours of people who are sick or self isolating but in need can collect on their behalf.
In a post on the church’s Facebook page Mother Gemma said: “We’re not shut, we’re just serving outside.
“If you are isolating please stay at home but if you are desperate and you need food please find someone who can come down or message the page and we will see what we can do.
“We need to make sure that those who are most vulnerable in Hartlepool get fed today because we are all in this together.”
She assured that all food has been prepared in sterile conditions and handled hygienically.
Mother Gemma added: “Make it your one essential trip of the day because eating is essential.
“If you know neighbours who are isolated or sick and can’t get down, consider going for them.”
The number of people using the food kitchen, which also gives out toiletries to the community, has steadily increased since it began almost two and a half years ago.
It went from 15 people in its first week to more than 100 now. Last year, it had a kitchen installed after the church and supporters raised £30,000.
The project is there for anyone who is homeless, struggling financially or lonely.