During the summer holidays last year, Rebecca attended Lowestoft South Salvation Army every Friday for a free two-course lunch with her two children.
Rebecca says: “We come here because we’re so welcome.”
Rebecca found out about the community initiative through her friend.
She says: “I didn’t think we would be eligible to come because we are a working-parent-family but we literally live week by week and month by month. We don’t have savings.
Rebecca works as a swimming instructor during term time. While the nature of her work means she doesn’t have to pay for child care during the summer holidays, her limited income means she still finds the holidays tough.
She adds: “And when they go back to school there are other things that come along that are expensive like new uniform.”
Rebecca says that the support from the free Friday lunch has helped. She says: “You feel funny when you come at first because you feel like you don’t deserve to be here, but they don’t ask questions, they just want to help.”
Rebecca is impressed with the menu throughout the summer. She says: “It’s all healthy food – it’s not just a basic meal. It’s lovely. If there’s food left over they will let you take it home instead of wasting it.”
Aside from the practical support the meal gives, it’s clear that the chance to socialise is important for Rebecca and her children. She says: “It’s well thought through. After the meal there are crafts for the children and one day there was a video with popcorn. It’s a long summer so it gives us something to do in the community, another reason to meet up with people.”
In addition to coming to The Salvation Army on a Friday lunchtime, Rebecca and her family have also been to the breakfasts organised by Lowestoft Community Church at Red Oak Primary School on a Tuesday.
Both The Salvation Army on Carlton Road and Red Oak Primary School are walking distance for the family.
Rebecca would encourage other families that a struggling to get in touch with The Salvation Army for support during school holidays.
She says: “Put your name down. They welcome anybody.”