Volunteers are spending their weeks handing out shopping bags of free food to those in need of support during the coronavirus crisis.

Gratitude has been running a food bank at Allum Manor Hall in Allum Lane, Borehamwood, every afternoon with a wide selection of food items to be had.

The charitable event takes place every weekday from 5pm until 6.30pm.

Volunteers, wearing face masks and gloves, are stationed at tables around the hall and visitors can walk around the spacious hall and choose what they would like - although there are limits on how much a person can take.

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Food ranges from bread and cereal, to fruit, tinned food, pasta, dairy, drinks, ready meals, and meat - and it is all sourced from supermarkets, bakeries, and other shops, and some of it is of real high quality too.

Gratitude usually operates from a pantry but has had to stop because it is too small and does not meet social distancing guidelines.

But the pandemic does not mean founders Sheila and John Carlisle cannot continue to help.

Ms Carlisle said: "We have been directing food to people in need in what is a national emergency. We have had a lot of people through the door and they are very thankful and grateful.

"A lot of people have found themselves in this situation not by choice, some have lost their jobs."

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John Carlisle from Gratitude

The food bank, which is actually just like a normal supermarket experience, except you do not have to pay at the end, is currently helping around 30 people a day - but Gratitude says it can cater for around 60 people a day.

Those who turn up must leave their name, postcode, and a brief explanation about why they have come, otherwise no other personal details are taken.

Elstree & Borehamwood town mayor Cllr Simon Rubner has been helping out as much as he can.

He said: "Gratitude is offering a fantastic service for members of the community. I love the way it is set out in the room, and it is all very dignified. We must also thank the supermarkets and Allum Manor House & Hall for the space which is free of charge."

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left to right: Vivian Palmer from Gratitude, town mayor Cllr Simon Rubner, and Gratitude co-founder Sheila Carlisle

Gratitude says anyone who find themselves in hardship currently, or any NHS or key workers who need help with their groceries are welcome to visit.

There is no need to book. People can turn up but they must obey the social distancing guidelines the organisers have in place.

Contact Sheilacarlisle.gratitude@gmail.com for more information.