THE Salvation Army in Reading has launched a food distribution hub to support vulnerable people during the coronavirus pandemic.

Food is being donated as the local community, businesses and residents step up to support families in need.

One of the first to drop off fresh surplus food and drink was Reading Football Club Community Trust, from their conference facilities at Madejski Stadium, as events were cancelled at the venue.

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The food from the hub will be distributed to vulnerable people and families in need which The Salvation Army is in contact with through its ‘Make Lunch Reading’ scheme which helps children and parents with meals during the school holidays.

Over the summer holidays more than 550 meals were provided for families and The Salvation Army anticipate many more will need further support during the coronavirus response.

Major Richard Welch, church leader at Reading Central Salvation Army, said: “We anticipate many vulnerable people and families will come to us for support over the coming weeks as the economic shocks of the coronavirus are felt.

“Our corps step up and serve hundreds of meals for families who struggle during the usual school holidays and this extended time when schools will potentially be closed for months places extreme pressure on household food budgets.

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“We are also readying ourselves to provide hot meals for elderly or vulnerable people with underlying health conditions, who rely on help with preparing and cooking meals at home and who are not getting their usual support or family visits due to visiting restrictions.”

The church hall at Reading Central Community Church became available for storage of food after the Government guidance on coronavirus asked for the suspension of public worship.

The corps responded to a request by Reading Voluntary Action that works with many local businesses and other charity and community groups that asked for a community space to accept and distribute food.

Richard added: “We welcome all food donations, be it ready to eat, fresh, frozen, dried or tinned and we are grateful to those who have already come forward with supplies, but we urgently need more.

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“In recent days, we have seen a café donate the last of its food before closing, as well as the restaurant chain, Nandos delivering food for us to distribute.”

Any business, community groups or others that would like to donate food and discuss temporary donation of refrigeration/freezers to the community food hub should email: or call 07741 906028.

Groups such as Whitley Development Community Association, The Weller Centre and Churches in Reading drop-in centre (CIRDIC) and The Queen’s Arms (community fridge and night shelter) are also benefitting from the food donations.

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