Salvation Army tackles 'holiday hunger' in Caterham
published on 13 Aug 2020
Caterham's Salvation Army has been providing breakfast to families in the area during the summer to tackle ‘holiday hunger’.
Share Breakfast is being delivered by The Salvation Army in partnership with other organisations including the Westway Community Centre, Churches Together, the Trussell Trust and the Rotary Club.
The project - which is running for four weeks this year from Monday 3 August to Friday 28 August, is being supported by the Surrey town’s Morrison’s and Tesco supermarkets.
“We’ve already had 10 families tell us that they’d like to come along but as word spreads, we’re expecting far more people to come forward for help. This summer the Share Breakfast will be held outside in the grounds of The Westway rather than holding it in inside to allow for coronavirus restrictions”, said Territorial Envoy Ailsa Flinders of Caterham’s Salvation Army.
“Over the Easter holidays we also adapted the Share Breakfast and the community fridge project due to the lockdown. Instead The Salvation Army delivered breakfast in a bag to families we knew were struggling.”
Share Breakfast is a brand-new development in Caterham and it fills a gap during the school summer holidays when support provided through term-time school breakfast clubs.
The project serves food outside the Westway Community Centre from a British Red Cross-donated gazebo and a catering van may also be deployed at a later date if demand increases.
“We’ve got social distancing measures in place and the Rotary Club has distributed flyers as lots of children did not go back to school before the summer term ended and may not have heard that we were doing this. We’re also lucky that several local social media pages have picked up on it and are helping us to get the word out”, said Ailsa.
“As well as our involvement in the Share Breakfast project, during lockdown The Salvation Army in Caterham has been distributing food boxes, baby boxes - we’ve celebrated the birth of 2 babies during this time and household boxes containing cleaning materials and disinfectant. We have also been doing fresh food boxes for families with children or those on medical diets where the foodbank are not able to provide as wide a range of food.”
Lockdown has seen The Salvation Army working more closely than usual with other agencies in Caterham and with that has come the wider realisation of the extent of the deprivation in the town is higher than thought.
“Covid-19 has brought into focus families who were just managing and then wage earners were furloughed or made redundant. The benefits system does not cover the costs of living in Surrey and so debt is on the increase. For these often ‘middle-class’ families asking for help, visiting a foodbank, admitting to debt, finding out what the benefit system is like is a massive struggle as they also grieve the loss of work and the status that comes with having work.”