The Salvation Army in Reading Central has partnered with local schools to help provide healthy meals for families over the school holidays.
Major Richard Welch, Salvation Army Church leader at Reading Central said: “We had an initial meeting with school representatives who told us about families in the community where parents go without food in order to give their children a hot meal during the school holidays and we wanted to do something to help.
“We went away and made contact with the Christian charity, ‘TLG Make Lunch’ who have expertise in this area, with a scheme working with local churches to provide free meals for local families whose children normally benefit from free school meals during term time”.
There are believed to be some 5,400 children identified as accessing free school meals in Reading*.
The initiative between ‘TLG Make Lunch’ and The Salvation Army is believed to be the first in the country between the two organisations and will be hosted at Reading Central Salvation Army. It commenced last Thursday (26th July), from 11.30am to 1pm, and will run every Thursday for a further five weeks until 30th August. Families were invited to register for the family lunch club via their school.
Volunteers, mainly from local churches and schools, have contacted The Salvation Army offering to help support the Make Lunch initiative, which plans to accommodate up to 120 children and adults each week, over two sittings, if required.
The Salvation Army Community Development Manager, Matt Stone said: “People have already been really generous in coming forward to donate to this community scheme and we can also apply for funding from various sources. We will also use funds donated to The Salvation Army throughout the year for this worthy cause. ”
Reading Central Salvation Army provides around 800 food hampers each Christmas to local families, funded by cash donations from members of the public and local businesses.