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The organisers of a support group for people in Lichfield during the coronavirus crisis say they will continue helping others for as long as they are needed.
The Helping Each Other campaign was launched in March after panic buying saw some residents unable to access key goods.
The group of volunteers decided to help source and deliver items.
Founder Elaine Hutchings said they had since seen demand for their services rocket.
“We started the group due to the panic buying – it was clear that things were spiralling out of control and we needed to do something.
“I noticed a need that I didn’t feel anyone was addressing – people who have lost their income, furloughed and who would never normally use any services.
“I have worked with different services to consider how we reach these people.
“Our service includes free donation boxes for anyone suffering financially due to COVID-19, NHS and key workers. We also shop for people isolating.We also collect and deliver prescriptions for free.”Elaine Hutchings, Helping Each Other
Elaine said that although other support networks had now been established, the demand for help meant many residents couldn’t afford to wait for Government help to arrive.
“This group did in five weeks what the Government and other services were unable to do at such short notice.
“This is because a community came together to support each other in their time of need.
“We are not over this by a long shot and we will continue to do this for as long as we are needed.
“We have had so much support from local businesses and this has enabled us to reach thousands of people in just six weeks.”Elaine Hutchings, Helping Each Other
“We have had fantastic support”
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Although food and prescription delivery were the initial items supplied, the group has now broadened its work with the help of local organisations.
“We have had everything from sanitiser, which we distributed to pharmacies and care workers, through to food donated from local catering businesses which have allowed the Duke of York to make meals and freeze them so we can hand them out with the donation boxes.
“Our local Nisa donated £500 to allow us to stock up on items.
“We have had 2 vans donated to us and we have had fantastic support from the likes of Morrisons, Iceland and Waitrose – the list is endless.”Elaine Hutchings, Helping Each Other
As well as ensuring families do not go hungry, Elaine explained how Helping Each Other has also attempted to tackle some of the side-effects of the coronavirus lockdown.
“Anxiety, fear and depression seems to be prevalent at the moment so we are always trying to lighten the spirit of Lichfield.
“Our delivery drivers dress up every day to try and put a smile on peoples faces and it seems to work very well.
“We have done birthdays, special recognition requests and held competitions.
“We work tirelessly and I can not thank the volunteers and the support from Lichfield enough.
“Little did I know that the day we launched that it would turn in to something as big as this but I’m so happy it has.
“We have had some very sad stories and some very happy ones. It’s certainly been very emotional.”Elaine Hutchings, Helping Each Other
Anyone needing help from the group can call 07506 581055 between 8am and 7pm.