Campaign to stop children going hungry at Christmas overwhelmed by support
- Credit: Anna Foster
Volunteers who set up a campaign to ensure no child goes hungry in their area have been overwhelmed by their community's support.
The No Child Goes Hungry this Christmas campaign, which is led by Harriet Tunnicliff, Frances Rayner, Alex Coates, from the Downham Market Food Bank, and Anna Foster, from the Swan Youth Project, has seen more than 95 young people supported through the scheme since it was set up last month.
It was created after the government withdrew free school meals for the holidays, a move which was later reversed after footballer Marcus Rashford's involvement.
And Downham Market campaigners, who were inspired by the cause, have been working hard to gather support and provide parcels for those in need during the Christmas holidays.
Ms Foster said: "We put information out and were overwhelmed with support from many local businesses and individuals.
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"George Haynes has been an amazing friend of the scheme, walking 50 kilometres to raise money for food and managed to exceed his £1,500 target.
"He recently handed over £1,000 in supermarket vouchers to Alex Coates.
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"Local schools supported us by getting information out to families, for which we are very grateful."
The team provided more than 95 young people with packs on December 18, which included items such as milk, yoghurts, ham, potatoes and bread, and around 99 people were booked in to receive food on December 23.
Ms Foster said: "We would love this to continue and will be meeting in January to work out our next plans for February half term.
"We were expecting the numbers and that is why we wanted to be involved – as a youth charity we know that many families have struggled this year.
"Some families did not necessarily identify themselves as being in need, but when talking to them they realised that they had lost work or income and were struggling. So many families have had reduced hours of work or lost work completely.
"I would encourage people to keep talking to each other and know that support is there for anyone struggling, not just young people entitled to free school meals."
Local businesses which have supported the scheme included King and Partners, Tesco, Morrisons, Goodards, Arbuckles, Jacks in Stowbridge, Driving Miss Daisy and Hillcrest Reverse Advent Calendar.