A POP-UP charity to help the vulnerable during the coronavirus crisis has made its last delivery.

‘Second Bite’ had been delivering hot meals to the elderly and needy folk around Winchester.

The team took over from FirstBite at the end of June and three days a week a fleet of cyclists and drivers set out with their bright green Uber backpacks, first from the Lido Sports Hall in Worthy Lane, and then from Christ Church, as far as The Worthies, Littleton and Twyford.

Funding, chefs, kitchens and ingredients were provided by Winchester College, the Basics Bank and Christ Church. Supermarkets such as Marks & Spencer and Tesco gave surplus food to supplement the meals going out to the grateful recipients.

The volunteers, organised by Tom Quayle of Winchester College, were enthusiastic, efficient and generous with their time: some packed the food into the disinfected bags before cyclists and drivers sallied forth to deliver to people, cheerful whether in the stifling heat or the pouring rain.

In the final week at the end of last month, tributes came through from several people: “If I had a medal, I would award it to you!”, “I would like to thank, from the bottom of my heart, all those involved with the meals. It makes a big difference.” and “Without the support of Live at Home over the last few months I really feel I could’ve gone into a deep hole. You have been such a support to people like me who don’t have any family living locally. I can’t thank you enough”.

Some are nervous about what they will do from now on without the wherewithal or ability to provide for themselves.

Martin Wilson provided the routes for the deliverers, both for FirstBite and for Second Bite using RoadWarrior software.

Details of the people needing help were provided by Winchester’s Live at Home Scheme (now known as MHA Communities – Winchester) and the Salvation Army, plus a few known to local community leaders.

Their lunch clubs will continue to provide deliveries, the former on alternate Fridays in conjunction with the United Reform Church, the Salvation Army every Tuesday and Christ Church once a month on a Wednesday.

However, while other regular Church lunch clubs remain unable to operate, cafés like the FirstBite Community Café remain closed and many are still shielding, the need apparently persists. It may get worse if there is a further lockdown, for instance with the closure of schools and hospitality venues, and as unemployment begins to bite on families and communities.

The Second Bite volunteers hold themselves ready to start up again if necessary. Currently they are unaware of any other organisations, apart from Apetito (Meals on Wheels), who will be regularly delivering free/low cost, nutritious food to the vulnerable or needy once Second Bite ends. All they will require is a list of those in need and some funding.