Food vouchers help struggling families this Easter
published on 12 Apr 2021
Food vouchers will be given out to struggling families by Preston Salvation Army to ensure more than 150 children do not go hungry during the Easter holidays.
The church and charity in Harrington Street has received funding as part of the Church Revitalisation Trust’s Love Your Neighbour scheme - a national movement that supports churches to provide practical care and hope for vulnerable communities during the Covid-19 pandemic.
While the majority will be spent on vouchers for parents whose children receive free school meals, the money has also enabled the corps to fund a community assistant, and buy a freezer and shelving for their food bank.
Captain Dom Eaton, who leads the church with his wife Captain Debbie Eaton, said: “We see first-hand how families struggle to make ends meet and the anxiety it causes for parents when the school holidays come. No child should be going hungry.
“We’re working with four schools to provide vouchers to the parents of 153 children who are entitled to free school meals in term time. This will provide enough to give children a decent lunch every day over the two-week Easter break.”
Families who are referred to the church will receive a food parcel and an Aldi voucher.
Captain Dom added: “Thanks to our generous community in Preston, we are getting a lot of donations to make up food parcels. Supplementing that with food vouchers means families can pick up fresh produce that isn’t as easy for us to store at the food bank. It also gives people choice and a sense of dignity as they can shop for themselves.
“The effects of the pandemic are being felt. Before we would be helping around 40 families a week, but that is now around 50. At the same time there has been an increase in the amount of support available through charities and the council in Preston over the last 12 months, which shows how much need there is. We would have been inundated had that not increased. We are seeing people that we have not seen before, those who have lost jobs or have been furloughed.”
The Love Your Neighbour scheme started as an emergency food bank in London, and has since expanded to a network of thousands of churches and local organisations providing food, debt advice, and employment support to help people most in need. The corps put forward a bid last summer as part of a partnership with Holy Trinity Brompton via Preston Minster.