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Second Helpings supply packed lunches at Stamford Methodist Church following Marcus Rashford's free school meal campaign

A group of volunteers are stepping up to the plate to ensure children receive substantial meals in lockdown.

Last week, Marcus Rashford MBE, footballer and free school meal campaigner, shared images of food parcels given to children while in lockdown, labelling them as 'not good enough'. Parents in Stamford have faced similar issues regarding the food parcels given in place of free school meals.

Volunteers at Second Helpings, a community project aimed at reducing waste food, have encouraged parents to visit the Bunker in the Stamford Methodist Church in Barn Hill if in need of provisions.

Second Helpings
Second Helpings

Caroline La Niece, head of communications at Second Helpings, said: "We've done packed lunches when we we've been in a national lockdown and also during the school holidays since the Marcus Rashford publicity made us aware school lunches haven't been forthcoming or very good.

"We've made an effort to provide for the kids."

As well as the usual fruit, vegetables, bakery and chilled items at Second Helpings, packed lunches and 'child-friendly' takeaway meals are also available.

A packed lunch for a child in lockdown
A packed lunch for a child in lockdown

"It's more than you get from the Government in terms of making sure there's balance of fruit and vegetables, and important items children want to eat," said Caroline.

"Children have a specific taste so want things which they are used to eating.

"We are trying to make things we know they enjoy like sausage and mash, and cheesy pasta.

"You have to give them energy for the rest of the day."

A children's takeaway meal from Second Helpings
A children's takeaway meal from Second Helpings

She added that they have received a record amount of food donations from supermarkets and stores in Stamford.

The Bunker, which was re-located into the church hall, can now hold more volunteers to adapt to the increasing number of people coming in.

Caroline said: "What the volunteers are good at is when people come in they talk to them and ask how they are, whether they have kids and how many meals they need to ensure everyone who comes in gets what they need.

"Generally speaking a lot of new families are coming in, that's what we've noticed in the last couple of weeks since the third lockdown.

"They are just not confident they can get everything they need so come to Second Helpings to get the secondary support."

The Bunker is open from Tuesday to Saturday each week and operates on a pay-as-you-feel basis. Families attending can collect as many meals as they need and visit as frequently as they require.

For more information visit www.secondhelpings.org.uk or go to the Second Helpings Facebook page.

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