VOLUNTEERS providing holiday meals to children say they have been left with “tears in their eyes” by the generosity of the community.
Those helping at the Pudsey Community Project say they have been deeply moved by the “sea of people” who have brought in what they can afford – even if that has just been a single bottle of squash.
The vicar of Pudsey Parish Church, the Rev Richard Dimery, said: “We’ve just been thrilled to see a sea of people, the voluntary sector and businesses stepping forward and saying ‘we want to help those who are in need’.”
He said: “It’s brought tears to the eyes of some of the volunteers to see people donating food – just coming in and bringing a bottle of squash or three bags full of donations.
“We know however many people come over the next few days and say ‘we’re in need, can you help’ – we can say yes to that.”
The project’s volunteers were making up parcels at the centre and delivering them across Pudsey, Farsley and the surrounding area this morning.
The vicar said the parcels were not just lunches but intended for the full week and included items like fresh fruit, squash, cereals and baby food.
Mr Dimery said there were nearly 2,000 children on free school meals in the Pudsey parliamentary constituency.
Asked about whether he thought there would be a change from government in the near future, Mr Dimery said: “We’re in this for the long haul”.
He said: “This is actually shining a light on the hidden problems that we have in local areas all over Leeds. We’re not expecting to be out of a job providing emergency food and supporting people anytime soon.
“We are hoping that there’ll be much more of a consideration, not just for businesses, not just for those who shout the loudest, but actually for those people who don’t have a voice at all.”
The vicar said: “I’m deeply impressed with Marcus Rashford.
“He’s being saying that ‘as long these people don’t have a voice I’ll be their voice’. For us, that’s an inspiration.
“I think it’s sad that it has to be celebrities or sports people who take the lead but, at the same time, whoever takes that lead we want to celebrate and give thanks for.”