Salford Veterans Community Centre CIC is no stranger to supporting Veterans, but the lockdown has proved extra tricky, especially for our vulnerable Veterans. Loneliness has played a crucial factor for those veterans who live alone; often they won’t see another person from one week to the next.
The Breakfast Club’s motto is ‘pull up a sandbag and have the banter’. However, the pandemic has meant the sandbag now delivers home-cooked food. More importantly, it brings banter from a much loved and familiar face to ease the loneliness of living alone during Coronavirus.
Claire Marie Street, Director of Salford Veterans Breakfast Club CIC, got together with Directors and members of the club and Stuart Fraser from ‘The Love of Food Salford.’The meeting aimed to devise a plan to deliver home-cooked foods to vulnerable Veterans; raise their morale, and keep our Armed Forces Veterans healthy.
In October 2020, the team had secured enough money from funding bids to deliver two meals a week for 20 Veterans running up to the Christmas week. They planned to provide a home-cooked meal to the Veteran on Christmas Eve, together with an entire three-course Christmas meal for the ‘Big day’.
‘It was the start of November, and we knew the UK was heading for another lockdown. So Stuart Fraser, who runs the ‘For the Love of Food Salford ‘ project, successfully made a funding bid to enable him to cook meals for vulnerable Veterans in Salford once again.
Many veterans are elderly, so these meals were ‘old school meals’, as some of them would say. However, they were traditional to their era and very gratefully received. Alongside delivering meals by dedicated volunteers and committed members of The Breakfast Club, the teams got together to fundraise to get Xmas hampers for each Veteran.
The hampers were to be delivered to each Armed Forces Veteran the week before Christmas; the delivery would be from much-loved volunteers and Club members bringing seasonal cheer.
Traditionally, we would have been fundraising throughout the year, running tombolas and raffles etc., out in the community; however, 2020 paid to that. We had to think outside the box, so we put a Facebook campaign out, and the kind donations from this and an in-house raffle raised over £500.00; this made a huge difference!
We are so grateful to everyone who donated and have supported us.
In addition, there was a large donation of food items from the Lighthouse Project Foodbank in Middleton; we are grateful to everyone who supported us.
There was also support from Izzy; she is 12 years of age and the daughter of Ian O Reilly from Gazegill organics. Izzy had been fundraising for the homeless in December, and while supporting one good cause, she also donated food and toiletries to our Veterans. We are so grateful to Izzy and very proud of her.
Thank you to our dedicated volunteers.
The generosity of everyone made a significant impact on our aims, and in the first week of December, we were able to create the Xmas hampers. The hampers were created by selfless volunteers Helen Street, Libby Street, Robert Street, Donna Clegg, Jann Brant Cassidy, Owen Hammond and Father Ian Hall.
All the volunteers hugely respect and admire our Armed Forces Veterans; these dedicated volunteers visit our Veterans every weekend while delivering the meals, bringing much comfort to veterans living alone. It all went according to plan; tears were shed from the recipients, and I suspect many of us who delivered them.
We ensured that everyone had got what they needed for Christmas, especially those unable to go and get their shopping. It was essential to ensure our Veteran Community had no worries over Christmas, and they didn’t.
We are all humbled by the support we have received. To everyone involved in putting hampers together, making sure they were delivered for Xmas and being the generous and kind people they are; we cannot thank everyone enough; we are forever grateful.
On behalf of fellow directors of the Salford Veterans Community Centre CIC, Claire Marie Street, kind volunteers, family, members of the club, and public members who generously support us throughout the year, thank you.
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