It is a sad fact of life that there will always be families in need of support, this need has escalated since the pandemic started in March and with this in mind The Freemasons of Devon have come to the aid of Riviera Life Link with a grant of £1,500 to help them continue with their important work.
Riviera Life Storehouse is a foodbank which has been operational since January 2018 on a one day per week basis, providing an average of 50 food parcels per month. The food parcels provide 3 meals a day last for 5 days, some of the families that receive parcels are as large as 10 members! Since Coronavirus arrived in March 2020 the level of need escalated such that they have increased to two days and the numbers of food parcels provided increased to over 230 per month throughout the first lockdown period.
The original source of funding was from their own church congregation who gave both gifts of finances and food. However, as they have been unable to meet together as a church this supply has diminished significantly, not least due to hardship amongst their own church members. They have also received financial support from Torquay Rotary Club and Torbay Council who have been hugely helpful.
In addition to the foodbank Riviera Life Link are also operating what was the first Babybank in Torbay which provides basic clothes and essentials for parents with children under 2 years. This started in January. Since Lockdown they have seen the referrals escalate. There has also been a change in need as parents are now requesting milk and baby food and nappies. These items have not been donated and it has been necessary to buy them requiring more funds.
Riviera Life Link are anticipating that the situation will worsen over the coming months as families will be unable to feed their children who would normally have school meals. In addition, they have noticed that people who have been furloughed from their jobs are now being made redundant and have no income and therefore requiring their services. They are anticipating that this situation will last for some time to come as the nation's economy takes time to recover from this awful disease.
George Adroit from the Devonshire Freemasons met the Reverend Ian Williams and his wife Jackie at their collection centre in Torbay and presented them with a certificate denoting the £1,500 grant from Devonshire Freemasons, saying that local charities supporting local people in need is something close to his and all freemasons hearts and he thanked them for all their hard work.
This grant comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which is funded by Freemasons, their families and friends, from across England and Wales. In response to the extraordinary need created by the coronavirus pandemic, Freemasonry is providing special funding of £2.75 million for projects helping those who are particularly affected by the virus. This extra money comes on top of the estimated £45 million given to charity every year by Freemasons.