A COMMUNITY response to the coronavirus pandemic, which has seen dozens of essential supplies distributed to the most vulnerable in Sion Mills, has ended.
Under phase two of the village effort, grocery bag drop-offs have been delivered twice weekly to the doors of residents in a joint initiative between Sion Mills Community Forum and Sion Mills Community Association.
For the past eight weeks, food bags containing staple items such as bread, milk, eggs and toilet roll have been put together and distributed to those most in need of assistance such as the elderly and vulnerable who do not have family members available to see to their grocery needs.
More recently the Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Brian Tierney, visited the centre of the operation at St Theresa's Hall to assist with the deliveries.
Andy Patton, from the Forum, said the service has been wound down but that he and the volunteers are poised to spring into action again if their assistance is needed in the event of a second surge.
"This week was the finale of our food bag drop to those in most need within the village area," he said.
"We thank all the volunteers who came forward at this most trying of times. It has been our honour to have supplied a twice weekly food bag for this past eight weeks.
"This phase two of our food provision in the area came after our hot food project to the wider Sion Mills, Glebe, Clady, Victoria Bridge and Douglas Bridge area, which lasted for six weeks."
In expressing his thanks to all involved, Mr Patton said those who gave up their time freely and generously to volunteer in the project were "immensely proud" to have played their part in helping the most needy and vulnerable.
He added: "We thank our funders especially because without that input none of this would have been possible.
"Our phase two was funded by Community Foundation NI.
“We also thank our church leaders in the village for their input and prayers at this time. You have been a tower of strength and positivity for us all.
"We stand ready as a community for further instruction from council if and when we are needed."