Hartlepool mosque serves up more than 25,000 free meals since outbreak of Covid

Volunteers at the Nasir Mosque in Brougham Terrace began making hundreds of the rice-based dishes every week for the community during the first Covid lockdown in early 2020. Almost four years later, they are still cooking around 150 a week which are delivered to grateful recipients at St Aidan’s Church for their weekly food kitchen, and The Annexe community centre in Dyke House. The cooks, who are part of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, recently surpassed the impressive milestone.

Tahir Selby, the Imam of Nasir Mosque, said: “This initiative, which began soon after the Covid pandemic started has continued every week since and it is very rewarding for us to play our part in helping those in need. “Both food banks are doing amazing work to help the community, and we are very happy to play a small part in the great work that they do.”

Bilal Atkinson, President of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Hartlepool added: “We, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, are honoured to help people in our own and very limited way. “It is part of our faith to try to alleviate the condition of those in need, especially of basic human requirements.” Mr Selby said their “small donations” are just part of the good work of St Aidan’s which provides a hot meal and food parcels to around 100 people every Thursday morning.

Parish Administrator Kathrine Batty said: “We started doing this when we saw people in the community struggling and struggling even more now. “We have lovely donations from Fare Share, from the community, donations from congregation etc. We get fresh food from places like, Greggs, Tesco’s, Morrisons, Morell Bakery and from the Mosque.” Community organiser Victoria Brooks said: “We’ve been sharing food with the local community since 2013. By supplying the rice, the mosque is helping people make proper hot meals. “People love the savoury rice, but the sweet rice is everyone’s favourite. Providing 25,000 meals is an extraordinary achievement and we are grateful to be able to play a small part in it.”