As part of Operation Rose – The Armed Forces response to supporting Road Haulier Coronavirus testing in Kent – troops from 36 Engineer Regiment, based in Maidstone, have been involved in welfare provisions to HGV drivers since Christmas Eve.
This week soldiers from the Haulier Testing Resilience Unit (HTRU) working as part of the Kent Resilience Forum have been working alongside charities and local community leaders in Kent to deliver food package to those in need.
Once it became apparent there was a surplus of goods after the needs of HGV drivers were met, Guy Gardiner of the Kent Resilience Forum Driver Welfare Cell came up with an inventive solution to put the resources to use – by involving local charities.
Guy Gardiner said:“We had some supplies left when the operation of providing welfare to lorry drivers finished, so we have worked hard with local charities to make sure that nothing went to waste. Everything that we received has now been redistributed to food banks and homeless charities across Kent and Sussex.”
Members of 36 Engineer Regiment, alongside the Salvation Army and the Coastguard, have been involved in the delivery of food packages to mothers, the homeless, foodbanks, and to zoos in the local area. Over 4 vans full of goods have been delivered, including baby wipes, cupboard essentials and fruit and vegetables.
Captain Mark Paul of 36 Engineer Regiment said: ‘It’s a great privilege to help out the Salvation Army. We have been working together closely to deliver food parcels in Kent and Sussex, which has been a vital support to the community especially at this time of year. It’s an opportunity I wouldn’t normally get, and I feel a great sense of achievement from being part of it.’
I find it really satisfying to know I’ve been a part of something that is having such a positive impact on people’s lives Cpl Freeman
Corporal Michael Freeman of 36 Engineer Regiment said: ‘It’s been humbling to see the generosity that local businesses and large-scale companies have provided in an hour of need, and I find it really satisfying to know I’ve been a part of something that is having such a positive impact on people’s lives.’