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Exeter’s community response to provide free meals during half term praised

Published: 29 October 2020

Volunteers preparing meals

Exeter’s Lead Councillor for Supporting People has praised volunteers and the community response in providing meals to families during half term.

In the summer school holidays the Exeter Hot Food project cooked 3,000 hot meals for families across the city and involved more than 70 volunteers as organisers, kitchen teams and delivery drivers.

The project got underway again during half-term to make sure that there are regular hot meals for children and families. This week it is helping 27 families, cooking an estimated 269 meals over half term.

All of the households have been referred by local schools and community organisations.

Cllr Ruth Williams, Exeter’s Lead Councillor for Supporting People, pictured volunteering above, said: “Families and children should not go short of hot meals and healthy food.  Food poverty is a modern day scandal that needs to be solved and, in the meantime, projects in the city like Exeter Hot Food are trying to make a difference.”

A large number of organisation have been involved in the project. Belmont Church and South Street Baptist Church have allowed use of their kitchens for the week, and support has been given by community organisations including Stoke Hill Community Association, the Beacon Centre and St Katherine’s Priory.

The City Council and Devon County Council have helped with funding, alongside a grant from Exeter Lions and generous personal donations from the public.

Local businesses including Tea on the Green and The Grocer on the Green, as well as Morrisons, have donated foodstuffs, alongside supplies from Exeter Food Action.

Chris Lloyd, a project organiser and one of the chefs, said: “Exeter Hot Food Project is a brilliant community response that shows what good can be done when councils, funders, community and church groups, local businesses and local people come together to help their Exeter neighbours.”

The project will be providing hot meals for families during half-term week and is planning to be up and running for the Christmas holidays as well.

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