Charity deliver food and toys to children with serious and life limiting illnesses during lockdown

LOCKDOWN has been a difficult time for all of us, but for some families shielding due to having sick children, it has been unbelievably hard. With this in mind Teardrops, who are better known as a homeless charity but also help vulnerable people throughout St Helens, have enlisted the help of Merseyside Police and Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service to deliver food parcels to families in need.

The Star went out with them today to meet just some of the many families who have been supported. The first was the family of two-year-old Archie Cunliffe from Billinge, who was diagnosed with leukaemia at the start of lockdown on March 31. Charity deliver food and toys to children with serious and life limiting illnesses during lockdown

Archie was in Alder Hey having chemotherapy when we dropped off the parcel but his proud big sister Mia got a picture with officers and Sutton singer Jack Bennett and Conor Elliott, who came along to spread some job by playing the Irish fiddle. Archie’s mum Heather, said: “It’s been so hard, especially as noone can come round to even mind Mia at the moment, but the food deliveries from Teardrops have kept us going. “It’s harder still because the steroids Archie is on makes him so hungry, and we aren’t allowed to go out to get things to protect him, so all the food from Teardrops has honestly got us through these few weeks.”

Charity deliver food and toys to children with serious and life limiting illnesses during lockdown Harry with mum Natalie Another little boy whose had a tough time is three-year-old Harry Shelford, from Newton-le-Willows, who has chronic kidney disease and is in desperate need of a transplant.

However due to coronavirus he’s been taken off the register temporarily as it would not be safe to operate, plus he’s been in and out of hospital with an infection. Charity deliver food and toys to children with serious and life limiting illnesses during lockdown Harry and Natalie with Jack Bennett and officer McEneany who dropped off the Teardrops delivery

His nan Diane Parkinson said: “Honestly Harry has been on lockdown for 16 weeks bless him and he’s not been well, so getting these food deliveries has been a god send. “Today they delivered a little fire engine toy with it and it’s all he’s gone on about. “We cannot thank Teardrops, the police and fire service enough, Harry gets really excited when the big cars or truck is outside and it makes his little day.

Jack performed to some of the children during the deliveries  “The kindness of this town is amazing, someone even arranged for a photographer to come out and take a pic of Harry on our doorstep the other day, it’s just so lovely being in such a nice place.” Charity deliver food and toys to children with serious and life limiting illnesses during lockdown

Police officers also delivered a food delivery to Caelan Bluck, four, who has a terminal illness called infantile pompe disease. He’s spent close to all of his life in hospital, and after he was finally allowed home in February, lockdown started soon after. It’s meant his mum Toni has had a lot to contend with, but having the food parcels has helped.

Charity deliver food and toys to children with serious and life limiting illnesses during lockdown A sign on the window let’s people know how serious it is to shield She said: “We’ve been on lockdown before everyone else so it’s hard going out to get food, but the food deliveries from Teardrops have been amazing.

What we haven’t used has gone to my nan round the corner who is housebound, so it’s helped two families really.” Charity deliver food and toys to children with serious and life limiting illnesses during lockdown Jack and Jodie with Olivia, held up by her mum Alison and her six-year-old sister Alesha

Lastly there was a delivery to 14-month-old Olivia Gibbins who has a complex cardiac issue. She was particularly happy with Jack Bennett, and kept smiling after him. Her mum Alison said: “It’s great to have Teardrops help because for us a common cold could kill Olivia, so we’ve got to be super strict with shielding and it makes it difficult getting food.

“You can never understand how much it helps knowing someone out there is helping us, plus Olivia is a little flirt and she loved Jack coming by today, we watched him at Brookfest and I think she remembers him, she was staring right after him, the little flirt.” Charity deliver food and toys to children with serious and life limiting illnesses during lockdown Jodie McEneany, from Merseyside Police, who made some of the deliveries said: “I became involved with Teardrops because I wanted to support and bring some joy to families who were needing to shield due to their children having complex medical needs, life threatening illnesses or receiving palliative care.

“During this time I have been assisting each week to help deliver food packages to the families as they have been unable to leave their homes to purchase food.

“The children have enjoyed seeing police vehicles and it’s been nice to see a smile on their faces during our visits.”

Volunteers at Teardrops even enjoyed an impromptu music session from both Jack and Conor while sorting out the food hampers in the Crab Street venue and wearing full PPE and social distancing

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