A BLACKBURN charity who helped to deliver much-needed food packs to the elderly in the early days of the pandemic have been named ‘Community Champions’.

The efforts of Benefit Mankind were recognised at the Lancashire Telegraph Community Heroes Awards 2021 ­— kindly sponsored by Blackburn with Darwen Council.

We asked you to nominate people who had stepped up during the Covid pandemic and shown amazing courage and selflessness to help others.

We had lots of entries in our various categories and the winners will be announced in the coming days in the run-up to a celebration supplement in the Lancashire Telegraph on December 16 featuring all of those successful.

The Community Champion award ­— sponsored by Pierce Business Advisory & Accountancy Group ­— recognises those in the community, a neighbour, volunteer, friend or group who has truly ‘stepped up’ and helped others.

They will have always put other people first, provided a service or support that would otherwise not have been available and contributed to the wider good in the community.

Benefit Mankind is an international aid relief and development organisation and has been at the forefront of a number of regional campaigns to support the vulnerable.

As the world wrestled with the unprecedented implications of the Covid pandemic, Benefit Mankind delivered emergency food parcels to families struggling with the crisis within a six-hour window upon receiving the requests. An emergency hotline was also set-up where anyone requesting a food parcel could have it delivered to their doorstep.

In 12 months the charity delivered more than 40,000 food packs in Lancashire and Greater Manchester.

The charity also identified many students who were struggling for food and basic necessities and launched the School Meal Support campaign.

Last Christmas volunteers from the ‘Benefit Mankind’ Charity joined forces with IMO (Inspire, Motivate, Overcome) to distribute gifts to those working over the Christmas weekend. The team visited staff across the North West including Blackburn, Darwen, Bolton, Preston and Nelson as part of their ‘Key workers Appreciation Project’ throughout December.

This year, the charity teamed up with Blackburn Rovers for the 2021-22 season, with a number of fundraising and awareness activities scheduled to take place throughout the course of the campaign. This weekend saw the charity join forces with Rovers to sell specially-branded blankets in the club shop to help raise funds for a winter appeal. The campaign aims to assist the homeless.

CEO of Benefit Mankind Dr Abdussamad Mulla said: “Benefit Mankind responded quickly and effectively to the Covid pandemic by setting up an emergency helpline in March 2020.

“The most active areas of our support programme included delivering over 40,000 food parcels within 12 months, physical and mental health support, PPE kit were also distributed working with Blackburn Rovers FC.

“It was important to help the wider community during these challenging times ensuring no families struggled for food, our teams delivered food parcels within six hours of calls received across the borough. It was a team effort and the management would like to thank all our volunteers, donors and Blackburn & Darwen Council for their continuous support.”

Jason Walker and Shane Calvert were highly commended in this category for their efforts and work.