Bolton Lunches 2020 – Continuing our Fight to Prevent ‘Holiday Hunger’

Bolton Lunches 2020 was unlike any other. Due to the Coronavirus pandemic that swept across the world leaving no country unchanged, we knew the project would need to be run differently to previous years. As plans were being made we received the news that parliament was to extend the voucher scheme over the summer, for those who normally receive free school meals. Yet we knew that there would still be a need across Bolton for families who didn’t have this option but were still struggling.

We needed to redesign the offer to make the process Covid-Secure. Instead of packs with fresh sandwiches and fruit going out each day, we provided weekly food parcels with everything a family would need to make up lunches to feed their children. Each week, those that had a need received a printed lunch plan for the week with all the ingredients to make lunches every day. This consisted of meals like beans on toast; tuna and sweetcorn jacket potatoes and snacks such as carrot sticks and dips. We also included treats like cereal bars and fruit juices.

All this was a very different experience to 7.00am starts – making up hundreds of lunch packs and the gentle buzz of volunteers’ conversation and laughter filling the room. Nevertheless, each lunch was made and sent out with love by a handful of dedicated volunteers and delivered to the families, who gratefully received them.

This summer holiday saw 605 lunches being made and sent out in this new way. We have definitely learnt a lot this year about how to adjust and adapt processes to ensure that we don’t come to a standstill in the face of unexpected events. Whatever next year looks like we will take forward things we have learnt, continue reaching those in Bolton who need a helping hand and a kind gesture and hopefully see the return of our much loved volunteers.

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