Contributing to and caring for our community is really important to us at Leeds Bread Co-op. Its a part of who we are and why we exist. In fact, it’s right there in the co-operative values and principles that underpin all our work!
We have always donated our bread to a number of local charities who provide food and support to those in our community who need it most. Before the bakery closed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we were sending bread donations to a number of local charities each week including Rainbow Junktion, Toast Loves Coffee, PAFRAS, and Wheatfields.
We have all been feeling a bit glum, to say the least, that without the bakery open we have been unable to continue providing this bread at a time when, arguably, it is needed most. So we decided to get those ovens back in action and get baking some delicious sourdough and ciabatta loaves to help do our bit!
The first loaves all baked, bagged and packed up in the van ready to go!
WHO ARE WE SUPPORTING?
Over the last few weeks we have been speaking to a number of local charities and organisations based around Leeds who are supplying food packages to the most vulnerable and isolated in our community. Many of them are struggling to consistently get enough useful and nutritious food together for these packages.
Last week Leeds City Council delivered over 3500 food packages throughout the city to some of the most vulnerable people in Leeds at this time, including individuals referred to them by local agencies including the NHS, social workers and other care organisations. These parcels also go out in batches to smaller scale support organisations, such as our friends at Rainbow Junktion, to deliver to their already established and existing networks.
We have decided initially to support Leeds City Council, as best we can, with this massive undertaking. We have worked out that right now we can safely produce at least a couple of hundred loaves each week to contribute to their food packages. We know its a mere dent in the grand scheme of things but we have been assured that it will make a difference and that it is much needed.
If you are struggling to access food, or think you know someone who might need a food package delivered, you can find more information about referrals to the scheme and other help available on the Leeds City Council website here.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
All the baking, packaging and delivery to the food package hub is being done by our lovely team at Leeds Bread Co-op on a completely voluntary basis. Leeds City Council are donating a small amount towards the cost of each loaf and we have received some extremely generous donations of flour from Yorkshire Organic Millers and Grands Moulins De Paris, but we will need to raise around £200 per week to cover all the other costs involved.
We would love to be able to cover all these costs ourselves but the sad fact is that, alongside most small businesses at the moment, we find ourselves in a pretty precarious financial situation right now and that’s why we are here asking for your help!
*£200 per week will help us to provide almost 500 loaves to those most in need each week*
It would fill our hearts with joy if you felt you were able to donate the cost of a loaf (or two) that you might've normally popped down to purchase from the bakery shop each week, but we know that these are difficult times and any donation, or sharing of the fundraiser, you are able to make is massively valued and appreciated.
As we will be adhering to strict social distancing and hygiene protocols there is a limit to the number of loaves that we are able to bake each week. However, the more money that we raise the longer we will be able to provide these charity drops each week that the lockdown continues and Leeds Bread Co-op remains closed for business. Any funds that remain once lockdown if lifted, and we are able to start resuming business in some way or another, will be donated directly to our friends at Rainbow Junktion and PAFRAS to help them to continue their invaluable work in our community.
We will be posting regular updates here and over on our instagram, twitter and facebook page as the project develops so please keep an eye out!
Thanks again, please take care of yourselves and each other and stay safe xx