When St Thomas & All Saints Church in Ellesmere Port told us about the vulnerable families in their area, we were moved and concerned to hear about the food poverty right on our doorstep. Their project proposal was to use local schools to reach out to children on free school meals, and provide extra food and activities during half term. We thoroughly assessed their plans and were glad to be able to provide funding from our End Food Poverty Fund. This fund was set up by Lord Lieutenant David Briggs and (then) High Sheriff Nick Hopkinson, who worked tirelessly throughout 2020 to respond to the funding emergency and identified the need for a campaign specific to food poverty.
Volunteers mobilised and the church was emptied out and transformed into a food distribution hub. Seven schools identified families in need and a total of 122 hampers were delivered, as well as extra food to top up the ‘Crisis Cupboards’ at schools, which are sadly more needed than ever. The hampers also included recipe cards, menu ideas and kits like cake mix to encourage families to cook together and share new skills.
The impact was astounding. Parents who received food parcels said:
“This is an absolute Godsend and really helps out at such a difficult time. It means I am able to pay my bills and still feed the kids.”
“Christmas wiped me out and I’ve had the children’s birthdays and I’ve been so worried about managing.”
“It’s been a real struggle as when the children are home they eat a lot more, not just meals but always looking for snacks.”
“The food parcel is a massive help and we are very grateful for it as it’s a struggle. I know a lot of people would struggle without the help and knowing we can feed the family helps take the stress off in an already very stressful time.”
“Thank you so much, because there are no vouchers over the holiday this will really help.”
“Thank you, our children join in preparing the meals with the pasta and rice and all the other things, they love being involved.”
Headteachers from the partner schools said the following:
“People and organisations like yours are keeping the country going during these difficult times. You have stepped into the vacuum left by our political leaders and you should all be very proud of the work you are doing.”
“This has made a staggering difference to our families. This half term, we have seen an increased uptake on free school meals and families in difficult situations and with a delay on benefits coming in, this has really helped. We have been able to support 10 families and also top it up with additional donations to ensure our children are well fed.”
We are so grateful to all those who donated to the End Food Poverty fund, which supported a number of projects like this, genuinely putting food on the table for those families in Cheshire who were living on a knife-edge. Your generosity is changing lives.
To donate to Cheshire Community Foundation and support more local charity projects like this, visit our Donate page.