Hayling Holiday Lunches
In 2016/2017 there was an item on the radio about an organisation called Make Lunch which highlighted the problem that families face when their children receive free school meals in term time, but in the holidays have to be provided for with no additional financial help. The term ‘holiday hunger’ was used. A group of us in the church we were attending at that time believed that there was a similar need on Hayling Island and we wanted to do something to help. We knew there was a Food Bank on the Island and also that in our schools a large percentage of children were in receipt of free school meals.
Three of the original group who started the project now run it. All are in attendance at HIBC, and many of the congregation here assist with donations and deliveries. God has truly blessed us by growing the number of familes we are able to help and by providing food donations. These come from all the churches on Hayling and also through the wider community leaving donations in the boxes at Lidl, the Co-op, and the Lions Community shop. Our fundraising has seen generous donations from the Lions Club and the Businessmen’s Club, in addition to many from individuals and other organisations. These funds are used to purchase additional tinned goods and fresh food – bread, cheese, ham, yogurt, and fruit. This allows us to bless each family with a bag of tinned and dry groceries in addition to a bag of fresh food once a week during the holidays. These are delivered with the help of a delivery team from this and other churches.
Make Lunch (now part of TLG) provided training which enabled churches throughout the country to provide hot meals and activities for children who found themselves in challenging circumstances. However, we really felt that God was speaking to us, and leading us towards helping these families by delivering food directly to their homes. We wrote to all the schools on the island, asking them to pass on our letter offering groceries to any family in receipt of free meals, or that the school could identify as potentially benefitting from our project. In the summer of 2017 we helped 9 families; this grew in the next year to 25, then 36. Today we are delivering to 65 families!
All this food collection takes up a good deal of space and we are fortunate to have a large garage to store, and also to make up, the bags. With the growing number of families requiring assistance, space is becoming a challenge. We pray for fine weather for our delivery days so we can expand outside!