By Jill Dando News
Unsung heroes who work at food projects to provide meals for those struggling with the cost of living were among those being praised by TV presenter Helen Skelton.
Helen Skelton was the guest speaker when one hundred and fifty volunteers from 40 vital community food projects across Cumbria and Lancashire attended the ‘Celebration of Kindness’ event.
All give their time to run food banks, food hubs, pantries, breakfast clubs and kitchens – which are a lifeline to thousands hit by high food, energy and living costs.
Helen Skelton told them: “I am in awe of you here tonight. Food poverty is such a huge issue which isn’t going away anytime soon, but the commitment and enthusiasm you all have for helping your communities is inspiring.”
Reflecting on the celebration evening, Helen said: “Tonight has been a wonderful celebration and a brilliant acknowledgement of what is essentially lots of small acts of kindness that have such a huge impact on our communities.
“It is one of those evenings where hopefully everyone will leave feeling very buoyed and energised, but definitely very humbled and inspired.”
Guests enjoyed a meal, and each project was presented with a plaque recognising their work fighting food poverty in their communities.
The event, which took place at the North Lakes Hotel in Penrith, was laid on by The Cumberland as part of its Kinder Kind of Kitchens initiative.
The Carlisle-based building society donated £250,000 this year to the charity FareShare Lancashire and Cumbria, providing funding for a network of local food banks and food projects and helping them expand their services.
“The volunteers work tirelessly to support their communities to provide food to as many people as possible.
“They are truly inspirational. Thanks to everyone in this room, the equivalent of over 217,000 meals have been supplied to people in our communities since the launch of the Kinder Kind of Kitchen initiative in June.”
Yvonne Swainson, from St Barnabas Church, wiped away a tear when her team received a plaque. “I think tonight has been wonderful. It is nice to be thanked by your community because it is hard work.
“We have seven volunteers and we’re helping up to 55 families a week. One woman told me that her nine year old daughter is so excited when she goes to the foodbank to see what she brings home. Since I heard that I have been putting in a few sweets in the bag for her,” she said.
Also receiving a plaque last night to recognise their work in the community were a further 40 projects across Cumbria and North Lancashire that included the Grange Foodshare, Calderwood House, the Oval Centre in Workington, the People’s Cafe in Kendal and Brook Street School in Carlisle.
FareShare projects in Cumbria and Lancashire have supplied 2.4 million meals to people in need over the past 12 months.
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