In March 2020, Covid-19 hit the UK by complete and utter surprise. People were suddenly isolated into their homes without warning and this caused much loneliness across the community.
Early in March 2020, we realised the extent of the problem and set about helping the community as best as we could, working with others to do so. The local Basics Bank closed its doors. Much support was offered by lots of sources, however they felt their decision was final to protect their volunteers.
We rallied over 200 people to support the community through the pandemic and took on the supply of food from the Basics Bank so that it would be put to good use during this pandemic. Community feeding community. Fareham Council thankfully supported with a hangar of space and utilities to support this effort.
What became very apparent was that love has no borders. People came from all over Gosport, Fareham, Portsmouth, Southampton in order to help. They came from different backgrounds and cultures to support those who needed it most. Everyone was working tirelessly every day.
We joined forces with Rotary Club, supermarkets Asda, Waitrose, Tesco, and Co-op. The Women's Institute, The Centre. Many businesses including Coffee Dude all came onboard to help! It was a force of epic proportions. Teamwork at its finest for the benefit of the community. It showed we are truly stronger together.
The community came together to put out collection points around the community with everyone doing their very best to support the relief effort.
People came in their droves to donate and donations were plentiful. Drivers went out to pick up donations and came back with their cars stacked to the hilt!
Those who were struggling received calls if they were lonely. We also enabled some families to see their loved ones using Skype.
Hearing the heartrending calls daily from those struggling has been hard on our call takers, but they have maintained such professionalism and care for each and every individual that they have spoken to, building such a rapport with them, that they come back for support and are engaging with services.
Admininstrators, pickers and drivers have been here throughout arranging and packing each parcel with love and care, delivering daily to give the support so that people have it same day and do not go hungry. Huge appreciation for their dedication and commitment for this!
VE Day cream teas were distributed to lift the spirits of the elderly who were isolating in care homes and to celebrate those who enabled us as a country to have our freedom.
Over 200 holiday poverty parcels were put together for the benefit of those struggling for food during the school holidays. Our frontline workers have received gifts from the community too.
7,500 people have been fed this year, not just with food but with love. Love from a community that came together when it mattered the most. From a community of likeminded people who just want to see good in the world.
Each item donated to us is given on the basis that someone receives support - no matter where they are from, no matter their background or culture. That is community love!
This pandemic is not yet over for many. Please continue to support us as we continue to plough on through the damage caused by this to the economy. We can all play our part. Let's keep on keeping on.
LOVE HAS NO BORDERS - Let us learn from this year as we go forward, that no matter where you are in life, where you are in the world, that it matters not of where you come from.
Every person with the ability to turn the life around of another and that Kindness Matters.......every single day. Here at AOK we’ve been actively involved in supporting the local community throughout the pandemic.
Wheels keep on turning
Our food bank operated Monday to Friday from 10am until 4pm with our amazing supporters picking and packing food parcels and then our incredible drivers deliver them out to the community. We have fed more than 6,400 people since the start of the pandemic and continue to offer this service to those in need in the Fareham and Gosport areas.
We provide enough food for seven days and include as much fresh fruit, vegetables, bread, and eggs as we can. We want to ensure that food parcels are as nutritional as possible to ensure everyone gets good quality food.
We have worked closely with a number of other organisations to ensure that everyone who is hungry is fed – and our thanks go to everyone who has helped make this possible from the supermarkets, Gosport Rotary Club, and individuals. You are all amazing and helping make a real difference in the community.
Supporting Front Line Workers
We want to make sure that our wonderful NHS staff continue to be appreciated and supported, not just during the pandemic.
Several of our supporters have been putting together thank you gifts which have been delivered to frontline workers at QA Hospital in Portsmouth, Southampton General Hospital, Gosport War Memorial Hospital and the ambulance resource centre in Portsmouth.
Delivering in the COIVD Community
It has been a busy week here at AOK with our supporters out and about helping a wide range of people.
So far this week our acts of kindness have included the deliver of some of our excess stock of nappies to the QA paediatrics department for the Special baby care unit.
We have given gifts to the Warren Residential Lodge to help give them a smile and a hug from the community.
We are so grateful for the funds that you donate! We’ve managed to purchase £2,300 of stock for this month including fruit, vegetables and dairy produce which help ensure we supply the community with nutritional and tasty food parcels.
Our furniture team has also been busy with furniture as we help people get back on their feet.
Lockdown Legends on ITV News
Our volunteers at AOK were hailed Lockdown Legends on ITV news on Monday March 1 2021 as they took centre stage on the news show.
ITV filmed at the AOK hub in the piece which was designed to recognise those who have played such a positive role in helping others during the pandemic.
It was great to be able to talk about what a wonderful band of supporters we have and thanks to Rachel who spoke bravely about her situation and how AOK has helped her.