Free School Meals Update

Back in October 2020, we made the decision to provide Free Hot Meals For All. This initiative was created following the government’s decision to not provide school meals to children who qualify for them over the half term. The Union understands that no child should go hungry so decided to do something about it! During October half term we worked closely with student volunteers and local business to offer out free hot meals to children and their families who needed them over the week. There was a marquee located at the High Wycombe campus as well as two minibuses going out to two local schools for three days to try and reach as many people as possible. As well as receiving a hot meal, we were able to put together food hampers for famillies to take home with food and information on extra support.

The spport from the local community and local businesses was overwhelming. A huge thank you again to Dunelm, Tesco, Wycombe Food Hub, Knead Wood Fired Pizza and Lata Lata for donating items to help towards this week, it was all very much appreciated. This project received an amazing amount of support from students and locals alike asking how they could support us in this initiative. We created a fundraiser using Just Giving and asked for any support and donations to be made through there. This way we could ensure we could run something similar in the future or use the funds to support existing local charities that support the same cause. We were overwhelmed with the support we received from the local community and managed to raise an amazing £10,000! Huge thank you to The Claire Foundation who donated £1,500.

Since the October half term ended, we have used some of the funds to create 'holidays hampers' for school children. We worked with three local schools to give 458 holiday hampers out to children over the festive period to ensure they didn’t go without. These children would have been eligible for free school meals and we wanted to ensure they were still recieving a hot meal outside of term time. Within these hampers we included essential food such as pasta and sauce, fun activity booklets, and treats so that children could take home a present for the holidays, as well as a hot meal.

With so much support and donations, we haven't always known what to do so, we have passed along the remining funds to five local charities so that they can continue the great work they are doing to ensure no child goes hungry and that they are always supported. The charities are; Wycombe Food Hub, The Claire Foundation, Wise, The Karima Foundation and Community Youth Ventures. A panel from the Students' Union shortlisted these charities to receive this funding as their work aligns well with our mission of ensuring no child goes hungry and to support our families of High Wycombe with food poverty.

Thank you to anyone who volunteered, donated or shared our project, we received such a positive response for the work we did and it was amazing to see a whole community come together.