Families in the Morningside area of Hackney are enjoying free tasty treats and fun games during the school holidays thanks to a local lunch club.
With funding from Sanctuary Housing and the Mayor’s Fund for London, and food supplied by the charity FareShare London, the Jungle Lunch Club, based at St Luke’s Church on Homerton Terrace, turns surplus produce from the food and drink industry into hearty lunches for local schoolchildren.
The programme was devised by charitable organisation Make Lunch as a way to help parents on tight budgets manage in the absence of free school meals during the summer holidays.
The sessions, which run from 11.30am to 1.30pm every Monday and Tuesday provide a range of games, music, activities and crafts as well as a free meal, in a fun and stimulating environment for the children which encourages them to relax, bond with each other and learn new skills.
Sophie Lejeune-Peggie, Sanctuary’s neighbourhood partnerships manager, said: “Free school meals can make a real difference when you’re on a tight budget. This lunch club is a great way of ensuring young people have access to a nutritional and healthy lunch during the summer holidays whilst providing fun free activities.
“Funding the Jungle Lunch Club is a great way for us to achieve our aim of helping residents to live healthy, happy and fulfilled lives and it’s great to see businesses come together to achieve this.”
Hackney resident and volunteer Monica Guthrie said: “I think the Make Lunch sessions are very helpful for the community. It’s great to see the church give back something to the area, especially as these are some of the poorest parts of Hackney.
“You can see the numbers attending are growing week on week. As head chef, I try and give them something healthy but different each week.”
A number of spaces are still available for the remaining Jungle Lunch Club sessions, which finish on Tuesday 23 August.
No advance booking is required and more information can be obtained by texting children and families worker Keli Bolton on 07427 176341.