Bristol taxi drivers deliver emergency food parcels for the city’s most vulnerable households

Taxi drivers are delivering emergency food parcels for the city’s most vulnerable households across Bristol.

Yesterday a delivery of emergency goods supplied by central government was received at Bristol’s City Hall before being packed into individual bags by Bristol City Council workers and volunteers, and distributed by local taxi drivers.

The council phoned over 300 people who are being shielded – those most at risk of serious illness if they catch coronavirus – and found that 53 people had no food and support. They quickly mobilised volunteers who had registered on the council's Can Do Bristol site, to come in and pack emergency food parcels.

Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, said: “Protecting the most vulnerable people in our communities from the threat of the coronavirus outbreak is the responsibility of everyone. Working in partnership with central Government and local volunteers we are doing all we can to shield the most at-risk people though making sure they have food and support.

“The preparation and distribution of these food packages has been a collaboration between government, the council, local volunteers, and taxi drivers and provides the perfect example of how by working together we can help those who need it most.”

Andy Parker, a Climate Change researcher at the University of Bristol, offered his help via the Can Do website and was one of the volunteers packing food parcels at City Hall.

He said: “This is an unprecedented crisis and like so many other people I want lend a hand. I would absolutely encourage other people to volunteer. It’s a real chance to do something positive.”

Image: Andy Parker, Climate Change researcher and volunteer

“The council have made sure everything is sterile and provided gloves, so all volunteers and the people we are helping will be safe.”

Following a call for volunteers to help during the coronavirus pandemic, nearly 3000 people signed up on the council’s volunteering website, Can Do Bristol. From that group, 75 people said they were available to help pack food on Saturday.

The Council is also working with local groups, including St Mungo’s and Julian Trust, to house homeless people and other vulnerable groups in accommodation that allows them to self-isolate during the crisis, as well as receive the food, support and the medicines they need.

Shielding is a measure being used during the pandemic to protect people who are clinically extremely vulnerable of serious illness so must restrict interaction with others. These individuals have been advised to stay at home at all times and avoid any face-to-face contact for a period of at least 12 weeks.

Image credit: Bristol City Council

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