Our BIA food project has been responding to the COVID-19 crisis by delivering more than 50 free meal packs and food parcels every week to individuals and families in the Bray and North Wicklow areas.
Centre of operations is our SPECS Family Centre in the Quinsborough Road, where the food is sorted and packaged ready for delivery to older people or those with health issues who are cocooning, and to local families – many of whom are feeling the twin pressures of households losing jobs and the impact on their finances of having children at home around the clock.
Community working together
The food is sourced through connections with local businesses and from not-for-profit initiatives such as Food Cloud and Good Grub, who redistribute surplus food, fruit and vegetables and baby food for the benefit of the community.
The initiative has illustrated how local community services and businesses have come together to support people during the COVID-19 crisis.
Our SPECS project co-ordinator, Maryrose Costello says:
"The good will from local businesses and charities has been incredible and it’s amazing to be part of something that is making a real difference.”
Local Bray company Softworks is one of the partners supporting the initiative – they contacted us via the Wicklow COVID-19 Community Response Forum and have been sponsoring 30 meal packs every week from Flemings Butchers in Stepaside. Their CEO, Andrew Ferguson, says:
"Softworks started off in Bray 30 years ago with a small team and big dreams. Today we are very fortunate to have customers around the globe, but we have always been extremely proud of our Bray roots. It was for this reason we got involved in this initiative. We wanted to support the most vulnerable in our community in both a practical and meaningful way.”
Supporting local people cocooning
Bia is delivering quality fresh foods and meal packs to people who are cocooning in their homes - one local woman who is cocooning said that the food she receives is "absolutely lovely" and says:
"I am not well and can't leave the house and so the food was very handy. I don't feel like cooking and I love homemade soup. Thank you also for the hamper. "
Staying in touch
A range of Bray Area Partnership staff have been involved in delivering the food and it has also provided the opportunity for support staff to check in with how families are doing during this difficult time. "It has been great to be involved and it is so lovely to see parents and children again, even if it is only from the doorstep", says Deirdre Murphy, SPECS Support and Development Worker.