Long-standing corporate supporters ESS Defence were quick to answer the Charity’s call for help. Experts in food chain logistics, the Company put together 500 emergency food hampers containing many basic food essentials, stocks of which had run dry on supermarket shelves up and down the country. The RNRMC liaised closely with a number of existing charity partners and organisations who worked with Royal Navy beneficiaries and were finding that traditional sources of emergency food provision – food banks and community kitchens – were not able to keep up with demand and were experiencing a marked drop in food donations and, in many instances, having to close due to infection risk.
The food hampers were therefore hugely appreciated by KIDS Charity, Alabaré, Agamemnon Housing Association and Sailors Childrens Society who went on to distribute them to the naval beneficiaries they supported. One surprised recipient said: “We would like to say a heartfelt thank you for our Essential Hamper which came to us through KIDS Solent Young Carers Club. We were overwhelmed how much was in it. I’m clinically vulnerable due to my liver disease which was caused by diabetes. I’m a Royal Navy veteran, and being an older single mum is hard enough, but I’ve had to stop my part-time job and there’s very little money coming in. Your hamper was a life-saver and I can’t thank you all enough.”
Mark Webster, Managing Director of ESS Defence, Government, Offshore & Remote, commented, “As a long standing supporter of the RNRMC, we are committed to helping the Charity assist the wider Royal Navy family. We are delighted to have been able to work collaboratively on this project to ensure that some of the most vulnerable people in the Charity’s care are not forgotten.” Adrian Bell, RNRMC Chief Executive stressed the importance of these food hampers by saying: “One of the consequences of social isolation is that people vanish. We have been very concerned that some of those in the naval veteran community and among naval families most in need, have had to face new risks during social isolation of physically being unable to access food. Through the expertise and generosity of our friends at ESS and several of the partner charities we work with, we have been able to make these deliveries and let these people know that they are not forgotten and indeed, remain uppermost in our thoughts.”
In another initiative, volunteers from the Taxi Charity for Military Veterans joined forces with the RNRMC to deliver bags of treats to Royal Navy veterans in and around London. Recipients included Légion d’Honneur recipient, Marie Scott and fellow World War Two naval veterans Roy (Doug) Miller, Alf Lonsdale and Harry Rice. As well as essential food basics, the bags also contained a wee dram so that the veterans could toast fallen comrades as the nation marked the 75th anniversary of VE and VJ Day.