In the UK around 1.7m children are registered for Free School Meals. Many rely on this as their main meal, or in extreme cases only meal, of the day. When schools stop for the holidays, so does the food and children are going hungry. MakeLunch partner with churches and communities to help feed hungry children in the school holidays. Running MakeLunch in the holidays alongside Messy Church is a brilliant way of connecting with families in your community throughout the year.
Sue, Jodi and their team at St Michael's and All Angels Church Galleywood have seen just how well this can work. It was running Messy Church that actually led them to discovering the need of families in their area in the school holidays.
They had run Messy Church for four years and last Easter decided to include a lunchtime session in the school holiday. They had links with a local children’s centre who advertised this session to all their families. Even though their sessions had between 40 and 60 attending, it went well and they were able to provide enough jacket potatoes for the families that came. The following week they were contacted by the children’s centre as one of the mothers who had attended specifically asked for her thanks to be passed on. She said that the jacket potatoes they had provided had been the only hot meal that her and her children had eaten during the Easter holidays.
Jodi describes how she had noticed the adults always encouraging their children to go forward for food first and realised that this was because they actually wanted to make sure that the children were fed that day.
This came as a real shock to the team, who had not been aware of this basic need in their community. It saddened them and made them question how they could make sure that people had food on their plates. They attended the Messy Church conference and Jodi describes how every conversation she seemed to have was about feeding people, as one of the principles of Messy Church is hospitality. They then discovered MakeLunch and how, by partnering with them, they could start to help fight hunger in the holidays.
St Michael’s ran their first MakeLunch kitchen in October half term and welcomed three families to enjoy a hot and healthy meal. They went on to successfully run both Messy Church and MakeLunch sessions across the Christmas holidays.
If this story has inspired you, please do get in contact with MakeLunch. They provide support, resources and training to help you get up and running. Children are going hungry in your communities during the school holidays and you can join the fight against holiday hunger.
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