Uckfield businesses and organisations are rallying to ensure no child goes hungry over half term.
After the Government decided against extending a voucher scheme for children to receive free school meals there was an immediate reaction in town to plug that gap.
Holy Cross Church has launched a hot meal and packed lunch service for anyone who needs it.
Food will be available at the Belmont Centre, next to the church, from Wednesday (October 28), to Friday (October 30) between 11.30am to 1pm.
Homemade lunches will be prepared and be ready in takeout containers for collection to be enjoyed at home.
Meals will include: Wednesday, Spaghetti Bolognaise; Thursday, Pasta Bake, and Friday, Fishfingers and Chips.
The church asks that anyone needing help contacts them via their Facebook page so they can see how many portions are needed.
It adds: “Please note that these meals are available to ANYONE struggling to feed their children this half term – many families are finding it difficult to make ends meet, and this is nothing to be ashamed of.
“We are a community church and here to help anyone who needs it. YOU WILL NOT BE TURNED AWAY.”
Uckfield Coronavirus Support Group is acting too and extending its Outreach Box service specifically for children.
It says it has acted after the Government decision to stop the extension of free school meals during half term and the fact that many children in Uckfield and surrounding area are now having to self isolate from school for weeks at a time with possibly little in cupboards to eat.
The group says there will be two boxes, one will be ‘free from’, for those with allergies, containing a mixture of suitable basic foods, and another with standard basics.
Both will include treats, and food easily accessible for children.
The boxes will cost £5, with approximately £10 of food in them, and if ordered by 3pm will be delivered the next day.
Orders can be made via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If anyone would like to donate, or contribute, to the boxes please visit the group’s gofundme page.
Uckfield Foodbank has reminded people that it is able to help people too.
The charity posted on Facebook: “I’m reading lots of angry/frustrated posts from people regarding the free school meals decision.
“Please remember that we are here to support you. We have a well stocked warehouse – full of fabulous Harvest donations, Tesco donations and Waitrose donations – and plenty volunteers to deliver food parcels around our town.
“Please get in touch if you and/or your family are without food or the means to buy food. Email email@example.com or phone 01825 745489.”
Louise Jago of Barney’s Play, the soft play centre on the Bellbrook Estate wrote, on Facebook, that she felt sick with worry about children going hungry due to poverty.
She said: “If you are genuinely unable to feed your children please let us know and we can see how we can help you.
“Please don’t let you or your children go to sleep on an empty stomach. Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to send us a private message or email. All information will be private and it’s only myself with access to the emails and social media.”
Barney’s Play can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org.