Volunteers serve 5,000th pandemic meal in Leeds

published on 14 Sep 2020

Two volunteers serve up meals at Leeds Central Salvation Army
Cook Sarai Teasdale and volunteer John Horsley plate up meals

Six months on from the start of the lockdown and dedicated volunteers at Leeds Central Salvation Army church are dishing up their 5,000th hot takeaway dinner for those in need in the city.

When the pandemic hit many support services for people struggling to feed themselves were forced to close but the corps (church) led by Majors Cliff and Joy Allchin began preparing hot daily meals. Those helped included young families finding it difficult to make ends meet, as well as homeless people and those with mental ill health or who are dealing with addictions.

I don’t think some of our visitors had ever eaten so well!
Major Cliff Allchin, Leeds Central church leader

The team initially planned to provide soup and a sandwich for people from Monday to Friday but offers of food came in quickly from businesses meaning volunteers could regularly cook hot food daily for people to take away.

Cliff said: “We couldn’t have done this without the support of our volunteers and the many businesses who offered us help - Merrion Centre Morrisons, Mecca Bingo, Tesco, Costco, B&M, to name but a few. I don’t think some of our visitors had ever eaten so well!”

Tony is one of the people who has received support – he is currently unemployed. He said: “If it hadn’t been for The Salvation Army doing this, I would have starved.”

The Salvation Army will be serving up a takeaway roast dinner as its 5,000th meal and will continue to be there for the community when the pandemic ends.

Major Allchin said: “The Salvation Army knows the value of lives being changed over a simple meal. In the Bible there is a story about a young boy who gives up his packed lunch to Jesus and this feeds 5,000 people who have come to hear Jesus preach, which for many would be life-changing. As we serve up our 5,000th meal we will be reminded of this story and grateful for the opportunity to reach out in love to someone who needs support and offer them hope.”

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