WITH more people in Wyre Forest in need of help due to the coronavirus pandemic and resulting lockdown, the work of groups such as homeless charity HELP is now more important than ever.

HELP volunteers have been working around the clock since the lockdown began, with their support being called upon seven days a week at the height of the pandemic to deliver food and supplies to people who were either homeless, isolating, or in desperate need.

Now, as lockdown restrictions continue to ease and fundraising activities resume, The Shuttle is relaunching its Shuttle Run appeal to raise £10,000 to purchase a new van for the charity as it seeks to support more people than ever before in Kidderminster, Bewdley and Stourport.

Kidderminster Shuttle: Food is packaged up for people in need across Wyre ForestFood is packaged up for people in need across Wyre Forest

HELP founder Dave Griffin said: “We’ve been working up to seven days a week, delivering up to 70 meals a day. During the coronavirus crisis, we’ve had calls from social services, job centres, Citizens Advice and councils contacting us for food parcels for the elderly and vulnerable and people who are isolating. We’ve been cooking, delivering the parcels and doing food deliveries for churches too.

“At one point, we just couldn’t cope with it. All the volunteers have been using their own cars to go out and pick up the food and deliver them - it’s not ideal. A van would have been a godsend.”

The charity has delivered 6,000 meals to people in need across Wyre Forest since the outbreak, while cash donations have dried up almost entirely.

Dave said: “We’ve managed to cut back to three days a week now, but we’re still collecting large amounts of food and it’s hard in the current climate. The cash donations have pretty much stopped and we’re expecting a wave of people needing our help in the next few weeks.”

Kidderminster Shuttle: HELP volunteers prepare hot food for people in need during lockdownHELP volunteers prepare hot food for people in need during lockdown

HELP volunteer Jo Ridsdill-Wardle added: “A month and a half into the lockdown, our jiffy truck broke, so we’re in even more need of a vehicle than we were before.

“Hopefully the pandemic will make more people think about those in need and donate.”

Unfortunately, due to an error, the JustGiving page set up for The Shuttle Run appeal was closed down, with all donations refunded to donors - meaning our fundraising total now stands at £2,600 worth of cheques and bank transfers.

Shuttle editor Stephanie Preece said: “During the coronavirus pandemic, we saw communities pull together more than ever before. Now we need that same community spirit to continue to help the most vulnerable in our society.”

Could you, your school, workplace or community group hold a fundraising event for The Shuttle Run appeal? It could be a marathon in your back garden, an online fundraiser or a socially-distanced group challenge.

Donations can be made online via our new fundraising page justgiving.com/crowdfunding/the-shuttle-run-homeless-van-appeal.

Kidderminster Shuttle: HELP volunteer Jo Ridsdill-Wardle and founder Dave GriffinHELP volunteer Jo Ridsdill-Wardle and founder Dave Griffin

Cheques can be sent to Kidderminster Shuttle, Second Floor, Copthall House, 1 New Road, Stourbridge DY8 1PH. Make them payable to HELP and write SHUTTLE RUN on the back.

Bank transfers should go to HELP, Lloyds Bank, account number 38430260, sort code 30-91-91.

We'll be running stories in the paper each week as we get closer to our fundraising target. Email emily.collis@newsquest.co.uk and let us know how you’re supporting the appeal!