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Help the Hungry: WWII generation thanks ‘heroes’ getting nation through current crisis

Volunteers delivering food packages ‘should get a medal after all this’, says Army veteran

Adam Forrest
Friday 08 May 2020 17:00 BST
Peter Lavelle Maurice, 76, has been receiving food from The Felix Project
Peter Lavelle Maurice, 76, has been receiving food from The Felix Project (Matt Writtle)

Britons who lived through the Second World War have hailed the “heroes” behind the emergency food operation helping the country get through the coronavirus crisis.

As the nation celebrates VE Day, some of those old enough to remember the end of the war have spoken about their gratitude at receiving food packages as they remain completely shielded at home during the outbreak.

Peter Lavelle Maurice, 76, has been isolating alone and getting regular food parcels from Living Way Ministries – a church given supplies by The Independent’s Help the Hungry campaign partner The Felix Project.

“I grew up at a time at the end of the war when there was a lot of poverty and I didn’t have an easy time of it – sometimes I had to fend for myself to get food,” said the north London resident.

Mr Maurice, a former nurse at the Royal Free Hospital, added: “I didn’t think I’d ever see anything like that again. I’m not worried for myself, but it is sad to see the struggles people are going through.

“It looks like the biggest crisis we’ve faced since the war. But we just have to get through it as best we can. I think a sense of humour keeps you going. Things seem to work out when we all help each other out. I’m really impressed by what the charities are doing for others.”

Army veteran Allan Carter, a 79-year-old unable to leave his home in High Barnet on the outskirts of the capital, is also relying on food packages from The Felix Project and “some damn good neighbours”.

The former corporal – who served his country in the infantry for almost three decades, stationed in Gibraltar, Germany and Northern Ireland – is struck by the parallels between the 1940s and the current hunger crisis.

“I still remember rationing during the war and the little stamps my mum used to put on the books,” he said.

“My mum and dad struggled to get enough for me and my brother and sister to eat. I didn’t think we’d have to go through anything like that again in this country – I feel really bad that people are finding it so hard.”

Phoebe Waller-Bridge joins The Independent’s Food For London Now campaign

Mr Carter said he was most looking forward to visiting the grave of his wife, who died 22 years ago, when the lockdown is eased.

“I do miss my missus,” he said. “I go up there to the cemetery and tell her everything that’s been going on.

“Hopefully we can get through it like we got through the war, and get back to normal at some point. Some of the people making sure everyone gets enough to eat should get a medal after all this. They’re heroes too.”

The Independent is encouraging readers to help groups that are trying to feed the hungry during the crisis – find out how you can help here. Follow this link to donate to our campaign for The Felix Project in London, in partnership with the Evening Standard.

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