Frances Rayner, Alex Coates, Anna Foster and Harriet Tunnicliff at the launch of the appeal before Christmas.

Volunteers behind Downham Market No Child Goes Hungry are stepping in again to make sure youngsters don’t miss out on meals.

The group has brought forward its plans to help families during next month’s half-term, this week launching a winter scheme to help during lockdown school closures.

The appeal, highlighting how the group can help families from Downham and surrounding areas, is to be posted on social media.

 A spokesman for the initiative said: “The scope of the scheme is to help those children who are not able to access the school meal vouchers being provided by the government.  

“We know there are many families struggling due to furlough, lack of financial support due to being self-employed, redundancy, low income and generally struggling to make ends meet.  

“We will review all children on a case-by-case basis and this is carried out by those most qualified to do so through the town’s food bank and the Swan Youth Project.”

The group ran a successful scheme over Christmas when it provided two food parcels for 98 children. 

Thanks to community support, volunteers were able to provide a large quantity of food, which included fresh produce, store cupboard basics and festive goodies.

As a result of this support, the group said it had enough funds to keep the scheme running for five to six weeks, depending on demand.

Frances Rayner, one of the organisers, said the Christmas food and supermarket vouchers were donated by local businesses and individuals.

“The local community has been amazing and we cannot thank them enough.

“It is tough times for everyone and it’s hard to keep asking for support, but we hope that everyone will see the real merit in this scheme and understand the difference that it makes to a child’s life when their tummies are not continually rumbling,” she said. 

Mrs Rayner said feedback from families had been “amazing” and the volunteers had worked hard to put people at ease when asking for help and completing the paperwork.

The latest food parcels to be provided will be mainly fresh foods for breakfast and lunch.  

The parcels will cost around £7.50 per child, per week and the group has listed its most needed items as: cereal, milk, bread, butter, cheese, yoghurts, apples, cucumbers, crisps and squash. 

Donations of Tesco and Morrisons vouchers are also needed and anyone able to help can email Mrs Rayner at: francesrayner68@gmail.com

“We do not have huge amounts of storage space and will be relying on volunteers to shop and pack ready for families to pick up from the Swan Youth Project on Paradise Road,” Mrs Rayner added.

If you need help from the scheme email: office@eternitydownham.co.uk or anna@swanyouthproject.org or call Anna on 01366 386259 or Alex on 01366 384474.

Contact the group via Facebook Downham Market No Child Goes Hungry Scheme.