By Grace Cooper
Businesses in West Leeds have been thanked for supporting a lifeline homeless charity.
Helping Hands UK aims to help people who are struggling by providing food and support in Leeds. Their main objective is to prevent hardship and offer support during hardship.
On a Sunday the charity has a public food bank and homeless feed on Briggate in central Leeds from 7pm. People can go by and spend a pound if they are not homeless and pick up four main items to fill their cupboards with. Helping Hands provides fruit, vegetables, bread, ready made meals and more all supplied from big supermarkets and local businesses.
On Wednesdays, the organisation focuses their efforts primarily on supporting the homeless and rather than setting up tables they go around the streets in Leeds with trolleys and hand out meals to those sleeping rough.
Toni Mella, who runs Helping Hands, says that the organisation wants to “put clarity back into charity”.
Toni also experienced homelessness and she says “every time I go out, I take myself back to that place. And I put in what I think should be done, not what is being done.”
The Pudsey area is just one of many Leeds communities that support and contribute to Helping Hands.
Sharma Takeaway is one such contributor, with Toni saying that the owner donates containers but also purchases them for the charity at a discount.
She also praises The Unique Barber Shop opposite Pudsey Bus Station who she says are always willing to offer their services to people supported by Helping Hands.
The Bearded Sailor on Robin Lane, Pudsey, is another regular contributor. Toni says every Wednesday they put 20 meals together and it’s all ready for them to pick up in an Uber Eats bag, which they then give out to homeless people in Leeds.
“The Pudsey community is full of love and the shops and the businesses. It’s a massive community input,” Toni Mella says.
Other communities in the West Leeds area also play their part in supporting Helping Hands, such as Harvey’s Quality Family Butchers, and Springfield Carpets and Flooring in Farsley, who she says will do fittings for free for the charity when somebody is relocated.
Ms Mella says she would like to thank the community and the surrounding area for their continued support of Helping Hands UK.