A local British Gas engineer and his two daughters, nine and three, have been volunteering to help to keep the Billingham & Stockton Borough Foodbank stocked with vital supplies throughout the coronavirus crisis.
Graham Clarke and his daughters Jasmine (nine) and Nancy (three) have been making weekly food collections from local supermarkets and delivering them to the foodbank’s site at St Michaels & All Angels Church in Norton, where it is then sorted and distributed.
With the virus meaning many people cannot safely make trips to get essential supplies, the Billingham & Stockton Foodbank has been making up emergency food boxes to help the vulnerable and those in isolation.
Food banks all over the country have had to change the way they work in order to comply with social distancing guidelines, meaning they’re delivering food to those in need rather than inviting them to come and collect it.
The Clarke family’s work comes as British Gas announces a new partnership with the Trussell Trust – which runs the Billingham & Stockton Foodbank – that will see British Gas colleagues volunteer their time for foodbanks nationwide.
The Trussell Trust’s existing volunteer base has been curtailed because many supporters are aged over 70 and are now self-isolating, because they are deemed ‘at risk’ of getting coronavirus.
British Gas hopes its engineers can make up the shortfall, using their vans and time to collect donations and carry out vital deliveries.
Graham Clarke, engineer with British Gas, said: “Our local food bank provides such a valuable service to our community, and has a big part to play in supporting those in most in need throughout the pandemic.
“Me and my little helpers are incredibly proud to be doing out bit – it’s amazing to see the difference that local organisations like the foodbank can make”
As well as helping the Billingham & Stockton Foodbank, Graham has also been volunteering his time at Stockton SOUP – a local organisation that invites members of the community to come together every other month to hear from local good causes, and then allocate funds to support their work.
For more information on how Scottish Gas is supporting its customers throughout the coronavirus outbreak visit https://www.britishgas.co.uk/covid19.
For more information on the Billingham & Stockton Foodbank, please visit https://www.trusselltrust.org/get-help/find-a-foodbank/billingham/.