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Caritas Westminster has sent out £31,000 in emergency food vouchers, to be distributed by parishes and schools to those most in need. The COVID-19 pandemic has left many people in a difficult financial position with businesses closed and budgets stretched whilst children are out of school.
Caritas Westminster already works with parishes and schools to support their efforts to alleviate food poverty in their local areas. However, the pandemic makes it hard to safely distribute food, and many volunteers have had to self-isolate, leading to the closure of projects.
With many support services closed, the need for help has increased. To address this, Caritas Westminster has developed the new Caritas Emergency Food Voucher Scheme, which offers a way to give immediate food relief, both remotely and safely. The supermarket vouchers can be sent digitally, posted, or given in person (following safety guidelines), enabling those who are struggling to buy the necessities for their families.
Caritas Westminster has seen a positive response to the scheme, with 58 parishes and 4 schools signing up to participate.
Fr Richard Nesbitt, Parish Priest at Our Lady of Fatima RC Church, White City, said: ‘This is a really great initiative which I know will bring very real help to lots of people struggling at this time.’
Anna Gavurin, Coordinator of the Caritas Food Collective, said: ‘It has been amazing to see the commitment of Catholic churches and schools in the Diocese of Westminster to continue doing all they can to help those most in need during this crisis. After speaking with them, we realised there was an urgent need for Caritas Westminster to provide practical support to enable churches and schools to give out food relief as quickly and safely as possible. Our new emergency voucher scheme will do this and we are pleased to have sent out £31,000 this week to provide that urgently needed relief. We hope to help as many people as we can and to build on this scheme in the future.’
To support this work, you can donate to the Cardinal’s Lenten Appeal 2020 here. The appeal has been extended to raise funds to respond to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
If your parish or school is in need of support to help those in your community please contact