Fighting Food Poverty During the Summer Holidays
Transforming Plymouth Together is helping feed families across Plymouth through their ‘Feast of Fun at Home’ initiative.
Transforming Plymouth Together (TPT) is a joint venture between Church Urban Fund and the Diocese of Exeter, and they work with churches and other organisations to tackle poverty and inequality in Plymouth.
Plymouth is within the 30% most deprived of all local authority districts in England, and for those families experiencing poverty, the school holidays are a particularly difficult time, especially for those who rely on free school meals during term time.
Last summer, TPT’s ‘Feast of Fun’ project ran 40 events across the city, in collaboration with 18 churches, and served 2268 meals to families in need across the city.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, TPT has been unable to host the programme of events as they did last year, and instead have been running Feast of Fun at Home, providing hampers of food as well as arts & crafts packs and games to families in need.
Hannah Fleming-Hill is a Project Support Development Worker at TPT, she said:
“We may be missing out on some of the things we did last year, but actually, we can help families in a different way and it’s been especially important with all of the food shortages going on.”
TPT has been working with Provide Devon, FareShare (and FareShare South West), Tesco and a number of local churches including St Matthias as part of their ‘Love Your Neighbour‘ project, to provide ongoing support to families. The initiative is feeding an estimated 250 families per week, which equates to approximately 800-1000 people.
Hannah said: “It’s been a wonderful experience of the churches working together and helping each other, and we’ve been able to help churches build relationships with the local schools which has been fantastic. We’re all working together for a common goal.
“We’re also hoping this will show churches what they can achieve if they ever need to provide emergency food provision for their community’s needs, especially with everything that’s going on. It’s really important that the Church is there for people at this time.”
Now that social distancing restrictions have eased, the Feast of Fun at Home volunteers are able to have more interaction with the families receiving the hampers.
Hannah said: “We can now stand outside and actually talk to the families, and build up a relationship. So many of them are really desperate for that contact and for a sense of community.” The feedback from families who receive the parcels has also been very positive, including one parent who said, “Thank you for the hampers – we are finding it more of a struggle than we ever have before.”
You can find updates from Transforming Plymouth Together on their Facebook page, and you can find out more information about Feast of Fun at Home by watching the video below: