Thousands of meals delivered to Sunderland families thanks to new community project
A project launched by a new Sunderland councillor has delivered more than 16,000 meals to families across the city in a bid to help the community during the ‘toughest’ part of the pandemic.
Newly-elected councillor for Fulwell, Michael Hartnack, launched the campaign in a bid to help residents who were struggling with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
He set out to deliver food to households across Fulwell, Seaburn, South Bents, Roker, Hendon and Southwick ahead of the first national lockdown in March 2020.
Since then, Cllr Hartnack and his team of volunteers have delivered £85,000 worth of meals to the most vulnerable.
In addition, the volunteers have launched a foodbank in partnership with Southwick Neighbourhood Youth Project to supply food from Aldi in Millfield.
The team also worked alongside Sunderland-based bingo company Tombola, which supplied kitchen staff to help cook meals, and Sunderland Community Soup Kitchen.
As well as the food parcels, Cllr Hartnack’s project set up ‘Pamper Hampers’. These provide toiletries for terminally ill people being cared for in their own homes by Macmillan Cancer Support nurses.
The project also supplies scrub bags for nursing teams at Sunderland Royal Hospital, Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary and nursing homes across the city.
Cllr Hartnack said: "The past 14 months have been hard work and at times traumatic and stressful, but without the amazing volunteers our mission would have been impossible.
"I would like to thank the volunteers for their commitment to me and People Helping People, but even more importantly to the recipients themselves who have benefited from such a caring and consistent service."
A total of £3,000 has also been raised and donated to Sunderland Community Soup Kitchen and Sunderland Social Chefs.
Susanne Kennedy, Operations Manager at Tombola, added: “We had the facilities and resources because our kitchen staff weren’t working while the office was shut so we wanted to help within the community.
"We were fulfilling a need and it was the perfect partnership with Michael – it was more than a meal, the whole team were talking and visiting some incredibly lonely people so it felt like we had a sense of purpose during the toughest time.”