MORRISONS supermarket has given a helping hand to communities from across the Bradford district, in an attempt to support struggling families whose situation has only worsened amid COVID-19.

The Bradford-based national supermarket chain has supported food banks, community centres and the district's elderly, vulnerable and shielded since lockdown began.

Some of the local groups and organisations which have received donations include Bradford Central Food Bank, Homeless Aid Action, Girlington Community Centre, Windrush Generations and St James' Church, Thornton, amongst others.

Last week, Morrisons donated a large quantity of fruit and vegetables from its Cutler Heights distribution centre to Bradford Central Food Bank, which Josie Barlow, manager at the food bank, said will help to feed around "100 families a week".

"It is great to see a national chain like Morrisons supporting its local community. The donation is wonderful, and will supplement our three-day emergency food parcels", she said.

"Large donations like this will help families in the community", she added, also saying that "Bradford Central Food Bank has fed an incredible 6,756 people, in 2,606 families - providing 60,804 meals since lockdown began.

"Supermarkets, the council and Bradfordians have been so generous that we've been able to meet the demand and feed struggling families. Their support is vital in enabling families to survive this crisis."

One woman who has benefitted from the donations is Rebecca, who said: "Without this help, I would have gone without food. As soon as I’m back in work, I will be making regular donations to help others in need, just like I am."

Andrew, another who the donations helped, added: "In the current circumstances, the food bank is a lifesaver. I don’t know how we'd manage otherwise - we are very grateful."

In the wake of lockdown, Morrisons was forced to close the community room at its Victoria store in Girlington, before it was later turned into a food bank, to support families who lockdown had hit the hardest.

Lily Romani, Community Champion at the Victoria store, spoke of the influence it has had: "Since early March, we have had large pallets of food sent in every Monday morning, to be donated to the community.

"From the start of lockdown, Girlington Community Centre has provided hot meals, seven days a week, for up to 60 families.

"Alongside this, we have set up a customer-based food bank too, which has generated over 3,000 food parcels, which I have personally delivered, alongside Councillor Bev Mullaney - it's been an absolute lifeline to many over the last few months.

"I am so proud of how Morrisons reacted quickly to the pandemic, ensuring the safety and care of staff and customers.

"I am proud of the way we listened to customers about what they needed.

"With Bradford potentially going into local lockdown, Morrisons has also decided to continue its doorstep delivery service, aimed at our elderly, vulnerable and shielded customers.

"All you have to do is call 0345 611 6111 and choose option five - a member of staff will take your order and it will be delivered for free the following day, with card payment on receipt of the goods. Lines are open Monday to Saturday, 8am until 4pm."