The Pakistan Community Centre on Woodbourn Road in Attercliffe recognised the immediate needs of residents and mobilised it’s catering staff to set up a community kitchen.
Zahid Saleem, director and project co-ordinator said: “We saw that a number of foodbanks had set up across the city and we wanted to do something to complement the effort. In talking to people who were contacting us, one of the comments that kept coming forward was that some of the items in the food parcels weren’t appropriate or people did not recognise the provision and therefore did not know how to cook with it. People were finding it difficult and this has had a lot of knock on effects.”
Zahid stresses the importance of collaborating with other ‘foodbanks and community focal points’: “We wanted to complement other efforts so have been working with other organisations such as Shipshape Health and Wellbeing, Places for People amongst others.
“We wanted to make sure that work wasn’t being duplicated, efforts are joined up and people can empower each other to achieve greater impact.”
Over 2,000 meals have been given out through community support, with little help from elsewhere.
As resources dwindled CABS (Champions in Achieving Better Health in Sheffield), a taxi driver health project, stepped in with funding supported by South Yorkshire Community Foundation.
Hafeas Rehman, chairperson of CABS said: “We had become aware of the PMC Community Kitchen and wanted to support the great work they were doing.
“Through funding we were able to source from SYCF, the meals have continued to be provided and we have been able to recruit a number of volunteer taxi drivers to deliver meals to individuals as well as to foodbanks. We have delivered to elderly people in Lowedges, people shielding in places such as Gleadless as well as elderly people from within the South Asian Community.
“It has been a really humbling experience and for many it was the first time they had a proper cooked meal in weeks.”