Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Karen Mullan has welcomed the news the Communities Minister Carál Ní Chuilín has extended the food box scheme for those shielding as advised by their GP , those who can’t get out to get food and are unable to get food in because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Karen Mullan said
“It’s staggering the amount of food boxes that have been delivered to those most in need across the North since the Department for Communities launched its COVID-19 Food Parcel Service in April”
As part of the transition from an emergency response, Minister Hargey had decided to invest £1.5m in an extension to the food parcel programme beyond 26 June for those currently receiving a food box who have been asked to shield by their GPs and have no other help to access food.
“We have seen the massive effort in the community response in delivering these food boxes right across our city and district during this period and I want to commend all those involved in any capacity.
Anyone shielding who has not previously registered through the COVID-19 Community Helpline should contact the helpline now to register. This will enable them to talk to their local health trust and facilitate continued delivery of a food box until 31 July.
Those not shielding and who still need help to access food beyond June 26 are advised to call the COVID-19 Community Helpline on 0808 802 0020, text ACTION to 81025, or email firstname.lastname@example.org to be matched to the right local help that best meets their needs.
Communities Minister Carál Ní Chuilín, who will now oversee the service as it transitions, said: “I want to thank everyone in the department, councils and voluntary and community organisations who have contributed to the success of the initiative, which has seen 150,084 food boxes delivered to those in need over the past 10 weeks.
“I am delighted this vital service will continue for those who are receiving a food box and shielding as advised by their GP – those who can’t get out to get food and are unable to get food in because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I would also like to offer my sincere thanks to Advice NI for managing the COVID-19 Community Helpline. This has been a vital resource that has ensured people who are in critical need have received the right support in the midst of this health emergency.”