42,000 meals cooked in lockdown: How a Preston community group fed the vulnerable in the past year

'Here for Humanity' announced they had delivered 130,000 bags of food and cooked up 42,000 hot meals for the community as they celebrated their one year anniversary last weekend, March 27.

By James Holt
Tuesday, 30th March 2021, 12:53 pm

He was forced to leave his construction job and close down his sweet business at the beginning of lockdown, prompting him to begin cooking extra meal portions for his neighbours in lockdown.

Now, Chris Murray and his team of volunteers at 'Here for Humanity', a community group based in Ashton, have celebrated their first anniversary of feeding vulnerable people in Preston.

130,000 food bags have been delivered and 42,000 hot meals have been cooked up during the pandemic, along with hundreds of cakes given to front line workers.

Founder Chris, from Ashton, reflected on the past year, where he saw parents forced skip meals to feed their children and families rely on food banks every week after difficult job losses.

He said: "This last year has been great for us because of how many people we have helped, but it has been emotional and there have been lots of ups and downs. So many people are still struggling and we see that every day, but we also see the change we can make to people.

"I still surprise myself every day with how much we have achieved over the past year. The organisation and all the volunteers have given people in our community the ability to get back on their feet and put food on their tables.

"We need to realise the food crisis is not leaving and our efforts will increase over the next year. We aren't getting as many donations but more and more people and families are suffering and don't have the money to feed their families. So many people see people just waiting for pubs and restaurants to open, but the reality that we see is very different.

Chris Murray founded the group at the beginning of lockdown and began cooking meals for those in need

"The demand for food was there at the beginning and before the pandemic, but this has really highlighted how many people are struggling and the worrying part is that Covid has just brought the highlight to the fight."

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And to celebrate their one-year anniversary last weekend, it was business as usual for the charitable group, cooking up 100 portions of spaghetti bolognese at the Methodist Church in Ashton.

Volunteer drivers, including Millers Taxis, then delivered the meals to elderly shielders, a local retirement home, vulnerable adults, two homeless support hotels, and staff at Royal Preston Hospital.

Volunteers cook food and deliver bags of food to families in need

Chris added: "The scary thing is that we have found a home and a need for 130,000 bags of food and thousands of hot meals. Not only that but before the food was donated, it was meant for the landfill and would've been wasted when so many families are going hungry.

"What's shocking is that we have become so accustomed to just dumping food and wasting it. As we grow and reach bigger numbers it does bring home how many people are struggling."

The organisation, which is hoping to achieve a charity status in the next few months, is now asking for donations after taking over a new premises in Preston.

Chris will be running the food hubs from their new home at 245 Eldon Street, Preston, and encourages people to donate non-perishable goods during the week.

The group has got a new permanent home on Eldon Street

Find out more information at the Here for Humanity website.

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