The need to “Do Something” appears very strong in Tables when faced with difficulties or challenges and many tables responded to the need for food and support for individuals and families during the various lock downs caused by COVID byco-ordinating, supporting, collecting and distributing in a range of different ways.
Heswall took a similar approach but in a very targeted way. Painfully aware of a very particular problem in their area for children and families receiving free school meals but otherwise outside support services, Table 557 took drastic action. As a teacher in one such school Table Member Jordon Scott could see the very real risk of certain families falling through the cracks and ending up in serious trouble. He and Al Thompson who provided IT support to some of the other schools likely to have vulnerable students brought the matter to Table and collectively they created a plan. With incredible speed and efficiency, given the lack of other food charities working in this area they got to work!
They contacted Lidl who agreed to partner them along with other local business and funds contributed from the Table itself they set up their own Food Bank – in Jordan’s flat!
“It was the quickest and easiest way to get the whole thing up and running once the schools closed their doors, but it meant so much work and effort from Dean who was the main person sorting and packing the bags for delivery as well as keeping the lists updated. Working with all the different schools and keeping track of the families needing extra help. Depending on circumstances some households would come off the delivery lists while others were added – but every week, without fail Dean, Al and the rest of us were there to ensure no-one fell through the gaps if we could help it.”
They worked closely with other schools in their area to identify the families most at risk to get them through that first tough period before extra funding came online and other organisations and agencies were able to develop their response and offer a joined-up support system for those most affected by COVID, meaning the Table could concentrate its help elsewhere.
This food support programme ran for around twelve weeks with between 35 to 50 drops offs each weekend, leaving enough basic food to get families through to the next visit. “We would meet outside Dean’s house and then on to various carparks to collect and then split out the food parcels to other members for wider distribution.”
“It could be really upsetting” Dave explained “families who were clearly struggling and so grateful for everything we could offer. It was so obvious that we just needed to do this to make sure these kids didn’t go hungry.”
“It was a great example of what we do best - working together and with other local groups and people to get something done and it was really good for Table Members too. Lots of people really struggled during lock-down because of feeling lost and isolated, stuck in doors not knowing what to do but we all knew we were doing something important and really helping people. That made a difference to me and I know it did to the others, especially Jordon and Al who knew some of these kids and their families personally. They knew how bad it might be if we didn’t do something straightaway.”
It was Dave’s wife who suggested he contact his local Table when he moved North. His wife had been introduced to the Ladies Circle so had an idea it might work for him.
He joined in 2017 and hasn’t looked back, having already been both vice chair and chair. “It’s a great community, people looking out for each other and a wonderful way to build friendships, try new things and help other people.”
Round Table (RTBI) is a national association of local young man / men's club for those aged between 18 and 45. RTBI supports charities, the local community and its individual members through friendship and brotherhood. As part of the Round Table Family, RTBI is an inclusive organisation open to all individuals no matter their age or gender identification. To find out more visit our FAQs page or Contact Us.