Food parcel volunteers, from left, Jackie Haverson, Chris Haverson, Sue Renwick, Kerry Robinson, Katie Harvey, Sarah Cummins, Marcus Rust with Jo Rust. Pictures: Ian Burt

West Norfolk businesses have been praised for their generosity in helping to feed school children through this week’s half-term.

A number of eateries took to social media to post #nokidsgohungry and offered a free packed lunch or a cooked meal “with no questions asked” for children.

Sue Renwick and Kerry Robinson with some of the food donations.

In King’s Lynn, these included the Wimpy, The Crossways pub, Norfolk  Tea Rooms, Pearl River Chinese Restaurant and Samuels Farm Shop and Butchers in Walpole St Andrew.

Their efforts were in response to the government’s controversial decision not to extend its free school meals in the half-term break during the on-going pandemic.

The government said it had introduced more measures to support families and by giving extra money to local authorities.

Labour councillor Jo Rust said: “I think this shows the generosity of these businesses, it’s an incredible gesture to feed these hungry children when the government should be.”

Mrs Rust, along with Jackie Haverson from West Norfolk Carers and Kerry Robinson from Angels of King’s Lynn, teamed-up to create a makeshift food bank at the Discovery Centre in North Lynn last Sunday.

Around 60 food parcels were given to families in need and Mrs Rust has since been “inundated” with emails from people asking if parcels were still available.

Parcels were also collected at the Providence Street Community Centre and the Fairstead Community Shop.

Jackie Haverson.

“It’s really heartbreaking, people felt ashamed to come and collect food,” said Mrs Rust. 

“People have lost their jobs, have lost money through being furloughed and mortgage holidays have ended.  

“They have been placed in really difficult financial circumstances through no fault of their own,” she added.

The group expressed its gratitude to businesses which included Barsby’s, Morrison’s, M&A Fruit and Vegetables and The Co-op Party, and also to the individuals who launched collections in the community.