Councils Help Combat Holiday Hunger

Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils have continued to fund a joint initiative offering food and activities for families in need during the school holidays.

Food parcels, containing ingredients for five meals for a family of four, will be distributed throughout the districts in the February half-term. The box also includes recipe cards and links to online cooking tutorials to help families prepare filling, tasty, and healthy meals. 

In addition to this, a bird box making kit and other activities to encourage families to get outdoors will be provided.

This follows the success of similar projects, funded by the councils and partners, which have been organised by Abbeycroft Leisure’s Explore Outdoor team.

The initiative aims to help ensure that no child goes hungry when free school meals are paused during the school holidays and also seeks to promote getting fit while having fun. Families in need are identified by local schools and must be in receipt of free school meals, or facing hardship because of Covid, to be eligible.

The Christmas food parcel

Last Christmas, parcels, including ingredients for a Christmas dinner and other meals, were distributed in Great Cornard and Stowmarket to bring festive cheer to low-income families.

A recipient of one of the parcels said:

“We are extremely grateful to Babergh, Mid Suffolk District Councils, and Abbeycroft Leisure, for allowing our family to take part in the Explore Outdoor cooking project.  We have been able to use the recipe cards to make some nice food and do it together as a family.”

Covid, and the subsequent lockdown restrictions, has required the programme to adapt accordingly. Previously, food parcels, cookery lessons, and outdoor activities were provided in-person at events, which took place across Babergh and Mid Suffolk last summer. The councils funded 200 free child places in each district for these sessions and it is hoped that this face-to-face programme will be repeated later this year. 

Cllr Derek Davis, Babergh District Council cabinet member for communities said:

“No child should ever have to go hungry and I am pleased that Babergh District Council has lent its support to a project which aims to stop this from happening. These food parcels will provide not just meals for a week, but ideas on how to make food stretch further in future – making a real difference to the lives of low-income families in our district.”

Cllr Julie Flatman, Mid Suffolk District Council cabinet member for communities said:

“I am delighted that Mid Suffolk residents continue to benefit from Explore Outdoor initiatives, allowing children to get fit and fed. This latest funding demonstrates our council’s ongoing commitment to supporting families, at a time when this is needed more than ever.”

Frank Carn-Pryor from Abbeycroft Leisure, who manages the Explore Outdoor programmes and initiatives said:

“We’re very grateful for the support to once again be able to set-up collection centres this half-term for the much-needed food parcels and activities.

“We know how important physical activity is for children and adults, together with good nutrition which doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. Our recipes and videos, designed by local chef James Carn, offer some very simple, cheap, nutritious meals that will satisfy the whole family.”

To find out what else Babergh and Mid Suffolk council are doing to help people during this pandemic, head to their website here

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