AN INITIATIVE to help bring hot meals to Wokingham’s vulnerable residents has been giving more than a little help from Tesco.
Staff at the Finchampstead Road store have continued their partnership with the Salvation Army in Sturges Road as it continues its winter campaign.
Supported by Churches Together in Wokingham, the daily hot meal is a covid-replacement for its Bed For The Night scheme.
During the pandemic, Wokingham Borough Council has helped find housing for most homeless residents, but the scheme aims to help provide additional support for those affected.
Following the new lockdown restrictions, all meals are being delivered by members of The Salvation Army
on Sturges Road, with the Tesco store donating various food items, puddings, bottled water, and wooden knives and forks.
Following a busy Christmas and New Year period, the Salvation Army is continuing to provide more than 100 meals a week.
Captain Jan Howlin of the Wokingham Salvation Army said: “The new restrictions have meant we now have to deliver our meals, but it hasn’t deterred us.
“For the homeless community now in temporary accommodation and people struggling with mental health, the pandemic has really hit hard, and it’s easy to forget the impact it can have on these individuals in particular.
“The meals are as much about supporting people’s mental health, and the deliveries have given us the opportunity to check in, have a chat and generally make sure they’re okay.
“The donations from Tesco really are invaluable, and we’re grateful that we can still provide meals to the local community”.
The Wokingham Salvation Army has been running its outreach programme for eight years, and works with Wokingham Borough Council, which has been putting homeless people in temporary accommodation during the pandemic.
Louise Jedras, Community Champion at Tesco Finchampstead Road, said: “The pandemic has had a huge impact on everyone, and I think it’s often easy to overlook those who are vulnerable.
“At the end of the day, everyone should be entitled to a hot meal, and the donations we offer alongside the Salvation Army, hopefully can bring some relief during these difficult times.
“The food we provide really is having a positive impact, and we hope to continue our donations long into the future”.
The food provided for the meals is donated by the Finchampstead Road Store, which is offered in addition to Tesco’s Community Food Connection that is delivered in partnership with UK food redistribution charity FareShare, linking stores to local charities and community groups to ensure that no good food goes to waste.