A blogpost from Francesca Di Fonzo about how she and her daughter (Sofia) are dealing with lockdown and the support they have received from St Luke's. This is a piece of Sofia's artwork created during lockdown:

2020 I believe started for most of us like most years start, with a positive outlook; with the resolutions of loving oneself and others more, giving up any unhealthy habits, changing a particular behaviour, improving our interpersonal relationships with family, friends, at work and obviously the ever ongoing decluttering.

It started well for me. I felt courageous and confident in my desired outcomes. Good intention is always a good start as energy follow thoughts, they say. It also marked a new decade launching us into a more futuristic era. Little did we know that our whole perspective was to be turned upside down and inside out as it has never happened in our whole life and in a way that we thought could only happen in movies. A deadly virus, coronavirus, was rapidly claiming many lives in Wuhan, China, which was on lockdown since the end of January. We have been "ok" for a while in the UK although hearing directly from my family and friends in Italy, the first country to follow suit China, I knew two things, Coronavirus was serious and it was spreading rapidly! I knew it was a matter of time before we were also put on lockdown here in the UK.

As an active member I have had the pleasure in this last few years to enjoy the wonderful activities and some training at St Luke's community centre. During the lockdown the centre remains closed and continues to reach out in a great way through the distribution of food to the most vulnerable and in need. Well organised with a two way entry-exit system by the side of the building with access to the rear door window through a table separating the staff and members of the public. St Luke's maintains a vibrant atmosphere thanks to the staff smiling and being supportive whilst adequately protected with face masks, gloves and with the indicated distancing respected.

Through this time of potential isolating and solitude it is nice to see other people, some familiar and some new faces. It feels like popping to your local farmer to pick up your fruit and vegetables, to your neighbour to borrow some stuff you run out in your cupboard or to you family/friend to pick up something they cooked and want to share with you. You even manage to share a smile, a brief chat within the safe distance.

One day a lady in the queue was stretching and said "we are supposed to exercise" and two other persons joined her. Among gaze of loneliness, innocence, shame and discomfort in this climate of uncertainty and fear the staff at St Luke's makes you forget, in that vital brief exchange, the dramatic reality and somehow one even leaves with the moods lifted, often not only for receiving the food. It is certainly the case of a dear friend of mine who was restrained at home for a month because of her phobias of going to the shops after having experiences some lack of hygiene and lack of appropriate distancing. She hesitated to come to the centre initially but after only few times she feels more confident and reassured, and has now been able to have food on her table. St Luke's helped her to regain confidence and trust. She particularly praises the friendliness of the staff who clearly serve everybody with passion, care, love and humanity.

For me going to St Luke's at these challenging times has become part of our weekly routine. It also brought a smile to my daughter when Carol-Ann gave her a small bag of Mini Easter eggs and her favourite drink. Of course it is remarkably helpful financially to have such regular food supply coming in your household but what I value more, having attended the centre on a regular basis before this unexpected crisis, is that we somehow maintain the momentum going, despite to the bare minimal, of that paramount connection within the community. This helps everybody feeling integrated and part of something.  It goes a long way and also continues at home. We eat and bless the food and who donate it to us, it feels like we are all eating together as we often have done at the centre. I also got a very yummy recipe for a banana cake with a layer of peanut butter by Paul, the manager of the centre....It was so sweet of him!

This is an historical moment in everybody's lives and certainly St Luke's services will be remembered in everybody's heart. Every day it keeps giving hope and the essential love to carry on. A big thank you to you all at St Luke's.