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Community unites to help feed hungry King's Lynn children, as organisers warn need is likely to grow



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Residents, community groups and businesses have joined forces to help prevent some of Lynn’s poorest children from going hungry this half-term.

Organisers estimate dozens of vulnerable families were supported through the weekend initiative, which saw food parcels prepared and distributed from the Discovery Centre in North Lynn yesterday.

But they fear the level of need is far greater and the situation is likely to worsen still further as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

Food Parcels for October Half Term at the Discovery Centre North Lynn..Organisers and Volunteers with some of the Food Donations on Sunday Morning...LtoR, Sue Renwick (Young Carers), Kerry Robinson (Angels of King's Lynn), Borough Cllr Jo Rust, Sarah Cummins (Freebridge), Jackie Haverson (West Norfolk Careers), Hannah Hooks (Freebridge).. (42845010)
Food Parcels for October Half Term at the Discovery Centre North Lynn..Organisers and Volunteers with some of the Food Donations on Sunday Morning...LtoR, Sue Renwick (Young Carers), Kerry Robinson (Angels of King's Lynn), Borough Cllr Jo Rust, Sarah Cummins (Freebridge), Jackie Haverson (West Norfolk Careers), Hannah Hooks (Freebridge).. (42845010)

The project was organised amid the continuing controversy over the provision of free school meals during the holidays.

Although meals were provided during the summer holidays, following a high-profile campaign led by the footballer Marcus Rashford, the Government has so far refused to extend the provision again.

North West Norfolk MP James Wild, who last week voted against a proposal to provide meals during school holidays until next Easter, has defended his stance, insisting that families who need support would be better helped by strengthening the welfare system.

Food Parcels for October Half Term at the Discovery Centre North Lynn..Food donations from Morrisons Store in King's Lynn, LtoR, Sarah Cummins (left) (Freebridge), delivered by Sara Turmaine (centre)(Community Champion at Morrisons KL), Jackie Haverson (right) (West Norfolk Carers).. (42845006)
Food Parcels for October Half Term at the Discovery Centre North Lynn..Food donations from Morrisons Store in King's Lynn, LtoR, Sarah Cummins (left) (Freebridge), delivered by Sara Turmaine (centre)(Community Champion at Morrisons KL), Jackie Haverson (right) (West Norfolk Carers).. (42845006)

But Labour borough councillor Jo Rust, who helped to organise the weekend’s event, today said she had been “inundated” with inquiries about whether parcels were still available and warned action is needed now.

She said that, although Mr Wild had advocated targeted welfare support, there was no detail of what that actually meant.

She added: “Families shouldn’t be in this position.

“People have to wait weeks for Universal Credit and they can’t afford that wait. They were starving and children are suffering.”

Food Parcels for October Half Term at the Discovery Centre North Lynn..Volunteers (forground) collecting food parcel donations from Reay Thomson and Gerda Stankeviciute.. (42844999)
Food Parcels for October Half Term at the Discovery Centre North Lynn..Volunteers (forground) collecting food parcel donations from Reay Thomson and Gerda Stankeviciute.. (42844999)

Mrs Rust, who organised the initiative with her friends Jackie Mcintyre Haverson and Kerry Robinson, said around 60 people collected parcels during the day.

She thanked the many members of the public who donated and volunteered, plus businesses including Barsby Produce, M&A Fruit and Vegetables and Morrisons, as well as community groups like West Norfolk Carers and the Angels of King’s Lynn who supported them.

But she fears that many more people who are in need may have been deterred from attending because of feelings of shame or guilt about their situation.

Food Parcels for October Half Term at the Discovery Centre North Lynn..Shaun and Oksana Bunkall dropping off food donationas at the Discovery Centre North Lynn on Sunday morning.. (42845000)
Food Parcels for October Half Term at the Discovery Centre North Lynn..Shaun and Oksana Bunkall dropping off food donationas at the Discovery Centre North Lynn on Sunday morning.. (42845000)

And she is worried that the level of need will continue to grow in the short-term because of the economic impact of the coronavirus crisis.

She added: “We all felt that whatever the circumstances the people of King’s Lynn wanted to donate and wanted to help, so they should come and take the food so kindly and generously given."

The food initiative was organised with the support of Freebridge Community Housing, which owns the Discovery Centre. Three members of its staff were among the volunteers who took part.

Food Parcels for October Half Term at the Discovery Centre North Lynn..Volunteer Gary Bramham packing food parcels on Sunday Morning.. (42845002)
Food Parcels for October Half Term at the Discovery Centre North Lynn..Volunteer Gary Bramham packing food parcels on Sunday Morning.. (42845002)

The centre is one of the locations from which food parcels that have not been claimed so far still can be, along with the Providence Street Community Centre and the Fairstead Community Shop.

Mrs Rust said all of the recipients of parcels at Sunday’s event should also receive a £15 donation drawn from money raised through Labour county councillors’ decision to donate their additional allowance payments to good causes, as well as support in applying for help from the Norfolk Assistance Scheme set up to help people in need during the pandemic.

She also urged others who need support to access the programme, which can offer emergency food or cash support, as well as help with energy bills and items such as beds and white goods.

Food Parcels for October Half Term at the Discovery Centre North Lynn..Volunteer Sue Renwick packing food parcels on Sunday Morning.. (42845003)
Food Parcels for October Half Term at the Discovery Centre North Lynn..Volunteer Sue Renwick packing food parcels on Sunday Morning.. (42845003)

Requests for emergency cash or food should be made by phoning 01603 223392 and pressing option five. The scheme says it is receiving high volumes of calls and has asked callers to be patient.



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