St John's Hinckley provides food for families in need

The pledge to make sure all our children are fed during the school summer holidays is an issue that has touched our hearts as a nation in recent weeks, with a footballer making magnificent strides to change the Government’s attitude. But feeding hungry families through food banks and holiday hunger schemes is something the Church has long been involved with, particularly in the diocese.

St John’s Church in Hinckley have been working in partnership with Transforming Lives for Good (TLG) and its Make Lunch scheme since Easter 2018. The initiative is for families whose children receive free school meals through the Pupil Premium Grant during term time.

During the school holidays, St John’s run sessions to feed families a nutritious hot meal, as well as providing activities for them as they come to the church building to eat. While lockdown may have stopped this from happening in its usual way, it hasn’t stopped the church from providing food for all those families in need.

Amy Berry is the Children and Family Ministry Coordinator at St John’s. She explains: “When we heard that we were going into lockdown, we were very concerned about our families now having to find the money to provide hot meals during the week for their children, alongside the struggle of trying to home school them.” 

With this in mind, they were encouraged by TLG Make Lunch to set up ‘Boxes of Hope’ which are food parcels and activities delivered to families. Since lockdown the church team have been delivering ‘Boxes of Hope’ weekly with each delivery containing enough food for three meals, for three days.

Going into lockdown they had contact with 15 families. This number rose to 41 families last month during May, meaning they provided approximately 1500 meals to local families. The increase in provision demonstrates how families have struggled over the last 12 weeks.

Hearing the news last week that the Government have decided to extend their food vouchers for vulnerable families into the school holidays was a welcome relief for those in the church community who had been campaigning on this issue.

But Amy is clear that this doesn’t mean they will change how they are supporting local families at St John’s.

She says: “Those families that receive free school meals are amongst the most vulnerable families in our community. The vouchers from the Government are a big help for the families, but they still struggle financially. We will continue to support them.”

Help to run the scheme, provide food for families, donations, finance and transportation to deliver the food parcels comes from a variety of businesses and organisations across the community, for which the church is extremely grateful. These include The Salvation Army, Hinckley Area Foodbank, Feed The Hungry, Morrisons, Aldi, Lidl, Hinckley Fire Brigade, members of the local community and the church family of St John’s.

St John’s and TLG have been supporting a number of families in the Hinckley area, among them mum Sarah Barnes, who has found it increasingly difficult to feed her family during the pandemic since her husband lost his job. You can hear her talking to the BBC in the following clip:

First published on: 22nd June 2020
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