Volunteers extend Northampton free school meal scheme to Christmas present donations
"Part of what we are doing, we hope it will inspire people and it will be a force for change"
A new community action group of volunteers are using their lunch hours to deliver home cooked meals to vulnerable families in the town.
The scheme, which was set up this month by Emma Shane, Hannah Litt, Tre Ventour, Roy Morrison and Bronwen Laight, is working with homeless outreach charity Project 16:15 who is refering families in most need of a fresh, hot cooked meal.
The project, called Amplified NN, has 20 selfless volunteers involved including cook Roy, from Roy's Carribean Kitchen, who are on hand to create tasty meals, make doorstep deliveries and raise cash to take the project forward into Christmas.
The group were outraged by the Government's decision to not extend the free school meals this half-term to eligible children after they recieved vouchers during the Easter holidays earlier this year and, after Rashford's campaigning, Boris Johnson did the same for the summer holiday.
In one day, since the crowdfunding page was set up for Amplified NN, more than £300 has been raised which means eight families, 30 mouths, have been fed.
Emma Shane said: "I was a free school meal child. My dad was a carpenter and he broke his toe and he couldn't work. I'm one of three and my mum and dad struggled.
"Free school meals are amazing but people still struggle and we wanted to do something long-term. We want people to not dread Christmas and we want to be able to give these families a really nice time.
"We can really make a difference and there's a team of people in Northampton who want to make a difference, it really restores your faith in humanity.
"Stan Robertson, because of the work he does with rough sleepers and the homeless community, has been paramount in finding people who need our help."
As Christmas approaches the same volunteers plan to give these families, as well as other people who are struggling, the food they need for a Christmas dinner and Christmas gifts.
She added: "We really want to make this a Merry Christmas for absolutely everyone after such a tough year. We hope local businesses will donate some gifts and we are so grateful we’ve had amazing support already in our fundraising.
"We won’t stop there though - this is something we want to keep going with. There are always people who need a little support whether it’s food, someone to talk to for advice, or someone to listen and vent to.
"So we really want to spread the word about Amplified NN - the name came from the idea that we as a group can amplify the voices of people struggling. We are here to give people a platform if they want to be heard, or to be their voice if they can’t find the words."