A Christmas Appeal for our Local Free School Meal Families
We have been thinking about all the campaigning and awareness work that has been happening on the issue of child poverty and hunger in the UK. In light of this campaign and with Xmas looming (which is a hard time for many and especially challenging this year with Covid), we contacted one of our local Headteachers to see whether we had a lot of children in our area that would need and depend on the free school meals during holidays to ensure that they had sufficient food when not in schools. We were amazed when the Head Teacher advised us that yes, in our area around 10% of our local children would currently fall into this category. With Covid this year more children and families fall into this category with families having experienced job losses, wage cuts or from being furloughed on reduced wages for extended periods so it is harder for these families than ever.
What’s great is that our Local Council have committed to providing meal vouchers or meals for these children over the Xmas holidays, but we still think we could do more to help ease this period for those children and their families and to make Christmas a more special affair.
So we would like to reach out to our Parishioners for some help for these families…
Now, before we ask, many people are suffering particular hardship this year and we are all endlessly asked to support various causes so if you are realistically unable to help then please do not do anything to support this that would be to the detriment of yourself or your family…… and please do not feel guilty about that decision either; we can all help at different times and we all need help at different times… if we just do what we can, when we can, then that is more than enough.
For those in a position to and would like to help, our idea is that for the next three weeks – we all order or pick up a few extra items in our weekly shops – as many as we can reasonably afford. We will then provide details of a drop-off point or arrange collection from you if you are unable to drop off during week commencing 14th December. The food we have collected will then be passed over to the Head at the local school on the 16th December who will review what we have collected and distribute it fairly in food packages amongst the most needy of our local children and families. These food parcels need to be able to be carried home on the assumption some families may not have vehicles so if you could collect your items in robust ‘bags for life’ or similar then that would be really helpful – and the more bags the better so we can distribute them into bags that aren’t too heavy to carry.
So, what are we looking to collect?
Well in discussion with the Head, the school have suggested as the free schools meals vouchers are being provided that we could use our collection to give the families a real boost over the holidays by using a Xmas-themed food collection, that way it will also feel less like a charitable donation. The Head rightly pointed out that, although giving to us may feel good – receiving, even though they need help, can feel difficult, hard to accept and demotivating. We think that it is a great idea to use the Xmas theme and it will be nice to provide the items that could bring a little extra magic and joy!!
So, in terms of guidance on items, please – nothing fresh, so not fruit or vegetables or anything that needs keeping in a fridge or freezer and nothing with a short use-by date that might expire before Xmas.
Please add whatever you find to your shopping list that would fit under a Xmas theme but to give examples of the sorts of items we are talking about – mince pies, Xmas puddings, Xmas cakes, yuletide logs, Nutella chocolate spread, preserves, pickles or jams, stuffing mix, tins of rice pudding, steamed tinned puddings/desserts, jelly, hot chocolate drinks, milkshake powders, crackers for cheese (and also crackers to pull), nibbles like pretzels or chocolate covered pretzels, nuts, nuts and raisins, crisps, even dried baking packs you can buy with all the ingredients in to make your own muffins/cakes (these would be nice as they are also something for the family to do together). I also think a few tins of hot soups or stews would also be well received.
Please collect as many items as you want to BUT if you can only afford a tin of stew or a pack of mince pies a week, that’s fantastic and will still make a huge difference. If you can order several items then that’s also brilliant. We must remember that these children and families have very little, so everything helps!!!
Thankyou everyone for your consideration.
What should I put what I collect in?
As outlined earlier please put them in sturdy bags that the families can use to carry their items home.
What shall I do if I have collected some items, but I cannot deliver them myself to the collection point?
Do not worry. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know and we will arrange for someone to collect them from you.
When do I have to drop them off?
Please click here for details.
How many items shall I add to my shopping each week?
Please collect as many items as you want to BUT if you can only afford a tin of stew or a pack of mince pies a week that fantastic and will still make a huge difference, if you can order several items then that’s also brilliant. We must remember that these children and families have very little, so everything helps!!!