Boxes of Hope to support primary school children in Ainsdale

Churches Together in Ainsdale set up ‘Boxes of Hope’, an initiative to provide support for primary school children who receive free school meals and their families during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The coordinator of the Boxes of Hope project, Joan Green from Churches Together in Ainsdale, spoke about how the project developed: 

“The initiative came from Transforming Lives for Good. We, Churches Together in Ainsdale have partnered with them in starting a Make Lunch Club. This is to provide free hot lunches for primary school children who receive free school meals and their families during the school holidays.”

With the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent closure of church buildings, the Make Lunch Clubs have not been able to operate. “This is a way of helping the families who would normally attend.”

Churches Together in Ainsdale were still in the process of setting up their Make Lunch Club before starting this project. “We were one of the newest clubs who had not yet had the training. I had done the co-ordinator training via phone and we were due to launch during the recent half-term.”

Despite this, the group were determined to find a way to support school children and their families in whatever way they could. As group co-ordinator, Joan got in touch with schools who had responded to the need for a Make Lunch Club. “The schools' early help worker immediately came back to me and between us we quickly got 12 families registered. These families are normally supported by the Foodbank and foodshare, but with some unable to go out and most unable to obtain vouchers, they are struggling.”

Joan spoke about the current logistics of the Boxes of Hope project: “We are working alongside the Foodbank, able to pack several bags for each family which contain fresh food as well, plus toiletries, treats and small resources and craft activities to keep the family amused.”

“We go out to these families alternate Friday evenings. It is a privilege to get to know them. Hopefully, in the future, these families will come along to the Lunch Club.”

The community of churches in Ainsdale have come together to support this project from the outset. While Transforming Lives for Good provided £200 funding to enable the group to get started, the Methodist minister put Joan in contact with Southport Foodbank. “The Southport Foodbank CEO has been really supportive”. 

St John’s Church in Ainsdale have been praying for the project in their prayer group and Joan said: “We have received tremendous support by way of donations of money, food and resources”.

Looking to the future, Transforming Lives for Good are arranging distance training for the Make Lunch Group in Ainsdale, and hopefully, the group should be set up and ready to launch by the end of June.

“We will carry on with serving in this way for as long as it is needed. The families are all really grateful and look forward to our visiting.”