Amid Coronavirus restrictions and Christmas, independent organisation Salford Food Parcels are as busy as ever and have put out over 3,000 parcels since March this year.
Yvonne Simms, 71, administrator and treasurer of Salford Food Parcels said:
“We’re getting a lot more people. We’re finding that people are losing their jobs or aren’t getting their universal credit very quickly and don’t know what to do, so they need to come and get food from us.
“We’ve been trying to give them extra. As we’ve got through the week and we get extra bits and pieces, we tried to save nice things and give them treats such as sweets and chocolate.”
Within the parcels Yvonne and the team make, they include a variety of items including basics such as bread milk, tea, fresh fruit and vegetables, and eggs.
The organisation has now been run for over 9 years. Yvonne said: “I started it in 2011 and I’ve seen an increase in poverty over the years. I think we started with about 10 people and at the height of March’s lockdown, I think we were up to 60.
“It’s hard work. I’m 72 next week and my husband and I should be retired and putting our feet up, but we both feel it’s very important to make sure that there is food available.”
The organisation has recently moved to a permanent base in Emmanuel Church on Langworthy Road which has been a major improvement for them.
Yvonne said: “It’s safer for my volunteers because they don’t have to go up and down the stairs dragging heavy containers of food.”
It’s not just Yvvone who makes the parcels, several members of her family among other volunteers also help out.
Yvonne said: “My son, as well as a gentleman called Mark, registers people and finds out their circumstances. There are some girls that came to help me on my allotment and they’ve been coming each week. There’s a couple of girls from college and then there’s Mark’s daughter Chelsea, so there’s a variety of us.
“I think they come and they realize how desperate people are and it’s good to be able to help. It’s hard work filling bags for two hours but I think they find some satisfaction in seeing that people have got some food to be able to keep them going during the week.”
Yvonne has found that asylum seekers heavily rely on her services. She said: “A lot of our people are asylum seekers who are destitute. They are registered with the Red Cross and they are given five pounds for bus fare to get to us.
“Anybody else who comes, we will give them food as long as they need it.”