Nearly 300 packed lunches this week and counting - Charity Hebburn Helps on the surge in demand for support as Covid crisis continues
Hebburn Helps has been providing packed lunches each day throughout the October half term as it works hard to make sure no child goes hungry during the school holidays.
The charity founded by Angie Comerford and Jo Durkin supports families and individuals across the borough with its food bank and crisis response centre.
But since the start of coronavirus pandemic it has seen demand for its services soar, with the economic fall out of lockdown having a huge impact on people’s jobs and cirumstances.
Now, just days into the week-long school holiday, the charity has confirmed that it has provided 290 packed lunches to children whose families may otherwise struggle to feed them outside of term time.
Angie said: "We started on Monday with the packed lunches and provided 120 on that first day, 75 on Tuesday and 95 on Wednesday.
"We are hearing a lot of stories about people being on furlough [and] we are also seeing people who are on a low income and are struggling to make ends meet.”
Hebburn Helps has also provided 30 family packs – each containing five meals and activities for children – to sustain families during half term.
Now the charity is planning ahead for Christmas and is set to provide hundreds of turkey dinners and presents to families who have self-referred or have been referred through a school or organisation.
"People are saying we are a lifeline and I know that’s what we are but it doesn’t hit you until someone says it.”
But although the demand for support continues to rise, Hebburn Helps has been met with a wave of ‘amazing’ support from the public and organisations.
The Barbour Foundation is among them, donating £5,000 to the charity.
Chairman Dame Margaret Barbour said: “Hebburn Helps does so much to assist the most vulnerable in our communities.
"Through The Barbour Foundation, I wanted to support their efforts through the winter months to provide food to families who need our help.”
Angie added: "The generosity of everyone has been amazing.”