Wednesday, 24 September 2014
Youngsters left hungry because they can’t access free school meals during the holidays joined housing association staff and partners to access free, healthy, cooked lunches in the city this summer.
More than 300 meals were served to children and their families thanks to local churches. The kitchens supported the Make Lunch project, a nationwide initiative which aims to provide hot meals to children from low income families who would otherwise go without. Local volunteers from church groups and the community prepared the meals at three kitchens across the city, at Alderman’s Green Community School, Coventry City Mission and St Anne & All Saints CE Church.
The kitchen at Alderman’s Green was funded through a micro-grant given by the Tear Fund and arranged through the Cinnamon Network, while a Community First grant funded the kitchen at St Ann & All Saints Church.
Families who attended the lunches at Alderman’s Green and Coventry City Mission also had the opportunity to get active and get advice thanks to the organisers who set up family friendly games of rounders, football and cricket.
Parents accessed money and housing advice from Whitefriars Housing, as well as additional support from specialist workers. Whitefriars supported the project with staff resources to help planning and to run the activities.
Donna Milliner, local customer involvement officer for Whitefriars Housing, said: “We are delighted this pilot project has been a success. It is great to know the kitchens provide food and support where they can, benefiting many children and their families. However at the same time, it sad to see so many families need this kind of support.”
Wendy Eades, MakeLunch Coordinator at Alderman’s Green and a member of Streams of Life Church, said: “With an increasing number of families needing support, we wanted to show people that local churches can help in a practical way. We were delighted that we received so much support from Whitefriars, the school and the local children’s centre and hope to be able to run the kitchen again in the future.”
Figures released by leading food bank charity the Trussell Trust show the number of food parcels given to children in the UK last year was 330,205, out of a total of 913,138.