Mayor welcomes local emergency food box aid
08 April 2020
The Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor Michaela Boyle, has welcomed news from the Department for Communities that hundreds of food boxes for the most vulnerable people in the community will be distributed locally across Derry and Strabane from this week.
She confirmed that Council officers are already working to prepare local centres for the distribution of the vital care packages which were announced by the Minister for Communities this weekend.
The food boxes, which will contain mainly non-perishable goods, will be delivered to those most at risk of food poverty during the COVID-19 lockdown period, namely those who have received shielding letters from their GPs advising them to stay at home, and who cannot afford food and do not have access to local support networks. The support will also be available to those who are not shielding, but are in critical need of food.
A number of Council owned leisure centres and community facilities will be used to store and distribute the food parcels, which will in turn be delivered to homes by the #COVID-19 Community Response Teams from the community and voluntary sector based in each District Electoral Area.
Mayor Boyle said the food boxes would be a vital lifeline to the most vulnerable in the local community. "I am so proud of the huge community effort which has already mobilised to assist those in greatest need across Derry and Strabane. I warmly welcome the support from the Department for Communities which will provide much needed aid for those who will already be feeling the effects of food poverty.
"I want to reassure people that help is available, both through the COVID-19 Community Helpline and through the local Community Hub service that is now in operation. We will work closely with our partners in the Health Trust and the community and voluntary sector to ensure these vital supplies now get to those who need it most.
"This service would not be possible without the support of our Community and Voluntary partners. I just want to take this opportunity to once again acknowledge the fantastic work that is being done on the ground by all these organisations to protect our most vulnerable citizens. The strength of our community spirit and resilience is immeasurable and will carry us through this time of crisis."
The first food box deliveries will reach those in need this week, with 10,000 packages to be made available per week across N. Ireland. This will be reviewed based on data from the COVID-19 Community Helpline, local partnership groups and councils which are best placed to identify those in immediate need.
For anyone who feels they may fall into the vulnerable category, the Freephone COVID-19 Community Helpline can be accessed by telephone on 0808 802 0020; email [email protected] or text ACTION to 81025. It is available seven days a week, 9am to 5pm.