Hebburn Helps are going the extra mile to feed those in need during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Hebburn Helps is a community voluntary organisation that aims to help people and families in the community that in need and are struggling during times of crises. The organisation signed up to FareShare North East in July 2019 and it is an inspiration to see how the group have utilised the food they have received, truly exercising our ethos – ‘No good food should go to waste’. Hebburn is a small town in the North East. Almost one in five (18%) children live in severe poverty, with many more families living hand to mouth.
Hebburn Helps was set up by Jo who knew the challenges faced when raising children, the instability of employment and changing economic circumstances. She also said that she wanted to help people access support without embarrassment. Jo therefore, went on to develop Hebburn Helps into a charity that aims to create ‘Food, Fun and Friendship’ environment.
The Grub Club Initiative
The charity had been providing packed lunches to children during school holidays, but more recently they introduced ‘The Grub Club’, as part of a new Government initiative. Building on their original school holiday idea, ‘The Grub Club’ was set up to provide activities and food for the children during the school holidays. They run a packed schedule of activities as well as scrumptious food, including a breakfast club. Unfortunately, ‘The Grub Club’ has been halted as a result of Covid-19, but Hebburn Helps are eager to see it back up and running as soon as possible. Hebburn Helps is a community food bank and crises response organisation.
“Sometimes I have to go without to make sure there’s enough for Adam. But he has noticed that I’ve skipped meals and he knows I struggle. Now we come to the Grub Club, chat with other mums and kids eat together – and that’s one less meal I have to worry about. They’ve helped us a lot.”
Supporting The Most In Need Throughout The Pandemic
Throughout the pandemic, staff and volunteers have ensured that food is available to the most vulnerable members of the community. They are supporting people with a diversity of needs, including those who are on a low-income and individuals who are furloughed. The charity supports approximately 78 families each week which is a 212% increase from January 2020, pre-Covid-19. Sadly, like with many other groups FareShare North East supports, Hebburn Helps does not envisage this number reducing anytime soon.
Along with the 8.34 tonnes of surplus food that FareShare North East has been able to supply, between April 2020 – January 2021, Hebburn Helps has benefitted from the donations of food and toiletries from local retail stores and members of the community who want to support a worthy cause.
“10 months at 80% usual salary…we are starting to see the cracks”
Jo goes on to say that “the food parcels are not just providing food, but ideas such as each parcel has a suggested menu sheet for 5 days using the food that has been provided”. Hebburn Helps also sent out meal recipe kits that can create a meal for a family. In January, one of these packs focussed on using Chipolatas that were supplied by FareShare North East. Hebburn Helps is a great example of how surplus food can be used to its full potential. The enthusiasm of its leaders is also very infectious.
“It’s brilliant what FareShare gives us… Before FareShare, our foodbank relied mostly on donations from the community and whilst it’s brilliant to have their support, with FareShare we’re able to provide a wider range of items” says Jo to FareShare UK in 2019.
If you would like to know more about the work of Hebburn Helps, please visit their website.
Does your charity or community organisation support vulnerable people with food? Find out more about a FareShare North East Membership.