‘Lunch Bunch’ helps feed children amid cost of living crisis

published on 25 Jul 2022

The Salvation Army on Anstey Road in Reading will serve up free healthy meals and offer fun activities for children to help struggling families amid the soaring cost of living crisis this summer.

The Lunch Bunch activities launched today and will continue on Friday this week and throughout August.

The Christian church and charity is worried that families pushed into poverty by the rise in the cost of living could struggle to properly feed their children over the school holidays despite emergency Government payments to ease the burden on the lowest income households.

Reading Central Salvation Army has been providing free meals during most of the school holidays since 2018 (excluding COVID lockdown periods) to help local families.

Serving families at the church

Co-leader of the church, Major Beth Maddern, said: “We know how much families struggle at this time and we wanted to support local schools who continue to be concerned about vulnerable families, as do we, especially as things are likely to get worse with inflationary costs into the autumn and winter.  Lunch Bunch is a friendly, inclusive, welcoming group and that is important to us as part of the Church, demonstrating that we Love God and Love Others. 

“Reading is a welcoming place for new families from places such as from Ukraine and Hong Kong and The Salvation Army want to help make everyone feel included.”  

Children enjoying activities (2021)

The church volunteers come from a diverse group including church, community and schools with people from local agencies who will ensure that every individual feels special at Lunch Bunch.   Jan Scott, the coordinator has good links with local schools built over several years.  Jan said:

“Staff at the schools help to signpost vulnerable families to us during the holidays.   Sometimes the need is financial, however sometimes it is emotional support providing friendship and a sense of belonging and inclusion.

“Summer holidays can be a long time for families who are not able to afford a holiday and often have no garden space.  We provide somewhere where the children can make new friends, have fun trying different activities, their parents or carers can relax and have a chat with any of our volunteers or one another, and then the whole family can enjoy sharing a hot and healthy meal.” 

The church is providing 50 spaces for families to join in  activities such as crafting and playing games and enjoying a healthy lunch from 11.30am to 1pm 25th and 29th July, and then every Monday and Wednesday during August, except the bank holiday Monday (29th August). To donate to the work of The Salvation Army in Reading, see:


The church would like to thank all their volunteers who support their work with families throughout the year.

Janice Scott meets children (2021)
Salvation Army breakfast club

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