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.
Kerry Snuggs and Evie Matthews - Youth ambassador for AOK.