The co-ordinated, behind-the-scenes effort to support elderly and vulnerable residents in Perry Common and Wyrley Birch during the Coronavirus lockdown is exemplified by the tireless and selfless work being conducted out of St Martin’s Church.
Lay pastoral worker and cook at St Margaret’s in Short Heath, Catherine Cocks and Elly Cocks, a trained baker and chef from Moor Hall Hotel, have been seconded to St Martin’s to organise and rally the distribution of food and supplies to those in need.
And in Catherine’s own words, the support they have witnessed from both organisations and individuals across the community has been uplifting.
“We get in early each morning so we can clean and then check through the stored food,” she said.
“We then check-in and log any larger donations and supplies received at Witton Lodge Community Association. As we are working with donated food we replenish the most asked for items as and when they do come into us at the hub. It is lovely to see some of the thoughtful donations local people have bought in to complement the basic foods we get.
“Once everything has been cleaned we begin the work of going through the larger catering packs. The kitchen at Witton Lodge’s premises allows us to safely split, label and re-bag dried food so it can be sent out to those who need it.
“Sometimes we receive huge catering sized vegetables. Some of these need to be carefully split so they can go on to help as many families as possible.
“Once food has been left ready for the volunteers who pack it, our focus switches to any severe allergy diets or specialised medical diets we are providing for and these are put together in a separate room from the main food storage room.
“If we know a person has a specific medical need – and is also shielded – we thoroughly clean the outside containers of food before items are sent out in a sealed box with one of the volunteer drivers.
“In doing all of this to support the local community team we hope this will help those people who are having to self-isolate to stay well and healthy.”