Our Support For Meals on Wheel

Dartmouth Food Festival is delighted to share that we’ve donated £1,000 from our fundraising to Dartmouth Caring.  This will help support daily hot lunch deliveries in and around our town during isolation imposed by the COVID-19 virus.  More than 42% of our local residents are aged 60-plus and many are much older.  A growing number have been advised to self isolate or shield at home, sometimes with no support, which caused a sudden increase in demand for the hot meal service.  The daily action of preparing and eating a hot meal has become a struggle for some, so we’ve made a donation to support Dartmouth Caring’s local meals on wheels service.

Our local Dartmouth community is the third oldest community in the council and, together with 150 volunteer helpers, Dartmouth Caring has been a lifeline of support for residents since 2014.  Based in the town, the charity reaches out to our surrounding villages, including Stoke Fleming, Strete, Blackawton and Dittisham.

Approximately 50-60 hot meals have been served at lunch clubs twice a week, but the advice surrounding the COVID-19 virus means people are being asked to stay at home in isolation and the implications of this are deeply concerning to us.  During a conversation with Dartmouth Caring Chief Executive, Nick Hindmarsh, we learned that not only has the lunch club been replaced with a hot meal delivery, but that because of COVID-19, more and more residents have requested meals from them. 

The number of hot meals prepared has jumped from 120 to more than 300, and meals are delivered daily.  As well as delivering more meals to more people, the charity has halved the costs to residents so they may have a meal daily, and not be restricted by affordability to having just one or two meals weekly.  Costs have rocketed along with this extended service, so we moved quickly ourselves and last week pledged £1,000 in support. 

The donation from Dartmouth Food Festival to Dartmouth Caring will meet some of the running costs and means the most vulnerable elderly community who rely on Pension Credit will continue to receive their meals free of charge. 

Sheila Shribman, Chairman of the Dartmouth Food Festival, said: “Dartmouth Food Festival is not just a foodie celebration it is the flagship event for our local community.  Food is at the heart of what we do and we care passionately about where we live and the people who make up our community.  Our donation is a very small thing we can do and we are delighted to be able to help Dartmouth Caring to be able to reach the people it needs to at this challenging time.” 

Nick Hindmarsh, CEO, Dartmouth Caring, said: The generosity of Dartmouth Food Festival enabled us to reduce the cost of five daily hot lunches a week from £25 to £12.50.  In fact, we decided to offer the lunches free of charge for a few weeks. We can do this thanks to the donation covering our costs and it feels like the right thing to do”. 

Dartmouth Food Festival has been affected by restrictions imposed to tackle the COVID-19 virus and we recently faced the difficult decision to cancel two key fundraising events ourselves.  The autumn event remains on the local calendar but we will continue with the community work that is a key part of the festival’s ethos. 

We will continue to support the charity as much as we can.  And if you want to make your own pledge, Nick has set up a Go Fund Me fundraising page which you will find by clicking HERE.

After Easter weekend, Dartmouth Caring will be making up parcels of fresh sandwiches, fruit and snacks that will be delivered alongside lunch.  There are not enough resources to provide two hot meals a day, but we are aware that preparing an evening meal is a considerable challenge to many and we hope this goes some way to helping meet that need. 

If you would like to support this extra service, donations of crisps, snacks and non perishable items are welcome and may be left at The Community Cafe in the Market Square, where meals are prepared. 

Click HERE to learn more about the work that Dartmouth Caring does.

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