A new online shop has launched selling toys, books and games for babies and children, most of which have been kindly donated by the local community.
Salford-based social enterprise Visit from the Stork CIC has provided advice, support and resources to parents in need for the last seven years.
The initiative is run by 29-year-old Kimberly Bond, who says that the pandemic has brought even more hardship for many local families.
Kimberly launched the ‘Stork Support’ project in the first week of lockdown, which gained funding from the We Love MCR Charity to deliver baby and child essentials such as nappies, wipes and toiletries across Greater Manchester with the help of volunteers.
Miss Bond said: “People were ringing me for a number of reasons. They had lost their job or were on reduced income, were waiting for the five weeks of Universal Credit or were just not able to get out of the house. Lots of people were finding themselves in weird and horrible situations.
“It was around May that I had time to sit back and reflect about what was going on. A lot of the referrals weren’t because of people self-isolating, which is what I initially thought that the project would be used for.
“It was people in real financial hardship, and that is a long-term issue that was already here before the pandemic. It’s not a Covid problem, it’s only been accentuated by Covid.”
Our team of volunteers have been working extremely hard again this week – it's week 19 (!!) Of our Stork Support project and we've delivered 53 packs of nappies plus milk, toiletries and medicine to 40 families across #salford & #Manchester 💪 #Parents #Covid_19 #socent pic.twitter.com/hRf45mZoy1
— VisitFromTheStorkCIC (@VFTSeditor) August 13, 2020
Nine months on and the service is still working hard to deliver around 60 parcels every week with the help of over 30 volunteers.
The online shop is hoping to sell a bigger range of items soon and even organise some local pop-up sales, thanks to a massive response in donations.
It also hopes to create a pot of funding to assist parents needing some financial relief on bills, or a day of paid childcare to allow time out for a job interview or other important events, which would otherwise be missed.
Miss Bond added: “It will be great to bring some much-needed Christmas cheer with the online shop, but we are not applying a sticking plaster here. We’re not about just giving out nappies and wipes and gifts.
“We give rounded support to people. The key is listening to people’s stories, finding out what their problems are, and coming up with solutions.”
People wishing to donate items to be sold on the online shop can do so by contacting them through their Facebook page or over email at firstname.lastname@example.org.