HUNDREDS of children across Wrexham would go hungry this holiday without the generosity of others.
The town’s MP Ian Lucas has praised the Holiday Hunger project run by the Church in Wales as the necessity of their work in some of the county borough’s most deprived areas has been revealed.
During the school summer break in Caia Park they are providing about 115 lunches per day, four days per week at two venues.
In Plas Madoc, 45 lunches are offered per day, four days per week. In Gwersyllt, 20 lunches are made, two days per week
Groups of volunteers use churches to make packed lunches – a large filled roll, fruit and a snack – and these are taken to play providers, who offer open access play, who distribute the food to the children and ensure they have at least one meal that day.
There is similar provision at Christmas, Easter and at other school holidays.
The project began three years ago when Mr Lucas raised the issue of holiday hunger in Wrexham with organisations and faith groups, who began looking at ways to tackle the situation.
Mr Lucas says the project in Wrexham an example for other areas to follow throughout the rest of the UK.
He said: “It is becoming a story on a national basis, there is a drain on foodbanks at the moment because of the demand.
”Here we have an example of churches, the private sector, supermarkets and the voluntary sector all coming together to address the real need in Wrexham and it has worked well in response to the demand.
“At one stage we set up our own events for children to come to but we quickly established the most effective way to provide food was to go to existing playschemes were children were already attending.”
Mr Lucas has worked to raise the profile of the issue in Westminster, alongside other MPs. He has taken part in Parliamentary inquiries on the issue, written for the national media about what is being done in Wrexham, and spoken to other MPs about the work being done
Mr Lucas, who stressed how valued volunteers are who help out with the foodbank, added: ”We need to speak out about the Wrexham scheme as an example so that money is not wasted elseswhere, so that is what I have been doing at a national level – speaking about and pointing out what has been successful here.”
“The growth of the project and foodbanks is a produce of our time, as this wasn’t happening 10 years ago,” he added. “A lot of families are under pressure, parents are at work during the school holiday and because they are not home are unable to make a meal, or they are under such financial pressure they simply cannot afford to.”