Sheringham church launches packed lunch project
Lighthouse Community Church in Sheringham has launched a project to provide packed lunches to local needy children over the October half term, when school lunches are not available. Tony Rothe reports.
Since the Coronavirus pandemic began, many families have been affected by a reduction in financial stability. Because Sheringham is a seasonal seaside resort many local businesses employ large numbers of staff during the summer and rely on this season for their survival throughout the year. This year’s summer season has been shorter owing to the earlier lockdown, and last year’s business was affected by the sinkhole which blocked the High Street for several weeks.
This all appears to be causing financial difficulties for many families, which in turn often leads to food poverty. The termination of the furlough scheme at the end of this month is expected to exacerbate the problems.
Lighthouse Community Church in Sheringham was determined to provide some help to the community in the light of all this, and contacted North Norfolk Children’s Services to see what they could do. From this, Operation Packed Lunch was conceived in order to provide packed lunches, as the name suggests, for vulnerable families, on four days during October half term.
Lighthouse café manager Maggie Rothe is co-ordinating the project, along with church minister Ian Savory. Maggie said “We are particularly concerned about those families that might normally fall through the net, as they might not yet qualify for free school meals, for example. This is just a very practical way we can offer some support to the community at this difficult time”
Financial support for the scheme has been provided by the Sheringham Poors and Ploughlet Trust, and offers of food have been kindly pledged by Tesco, Sheringham, Morrisons in Cromer, and Dawn Fresh greengrocers.
Lighthouse Community Church has links with the Sheringham based schools and has been back into Sheringham High School, providing a counselling service for vulnerable students, and parents at both schools have been invited to apply for the lunches, which can either be collected from Lighthouse on Cromer Road or, if necessary, delivered locally.
The first packed lunches were given out on Friday October 23, with further distributions on Monday October 26, Wednesday 28 and Friday 30. It is still possible to apply for the lunches if you live in Sheringham or surrounding area by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org and stating your name, how many lunches are required and for which days, and whether you will collect or need them to be delivered. A few lunches will be available for drop-ins on the day, but pre-booking is very helpful.
Ian Savory, senior leader at Lighthouse, said “With the expected worsening employment situation when the furlough scheme ends, this is a service that could also be adapted for the Christmas school holidays. We are also looking at the practicality of possibly providing hot meals. We simply want to help local people at this time”.
Pictured above, some of the Lighthouse team who prepared the lunches take a break. Photo courtesy of Sue Savory.
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