A caring church is providing a Meal in a Box service for hungry children to take home with them from school.
St Mark’s will launch the initiative next Wednesday to help households across MK struggling to put food on the table.
Volunteers will ensure schools have store cupboards packed with the boxes, which contain all the ingredients it takes to make a “delicious” meal for an entire family,
When a staff member becomes aware of a child going without food, they will be able to help the pupil choose from options such as ‘Taste-Tastic Tacos’, ‘Cool Kids Curry’, ‘Terrific Tuna Pasta’and ‘Brilliant Bolognese’.
There is even a special “Kettle Pack’ for families living in emergency accommodation with access to nothing more than a kettle.
St Mark’s, which is a church for “people who don’t do church or God”, has run the successful Make Lunch project for four years, providing thousands of hot meals during school holidays for children from hard-up families.
Head of the meals project Nina Castree said: “ The Make Lunch scheme is great, but we know there are so many more children who are hungry and so many more families who need help”.
“From now on, our aim is to feed any hungry child across the city on any day that they might be going without dinner”.
Across Milton Keynes, 1 in 4 children live in poverty, meaning that more than 16,000 children experience the affects of their household not having enough money, sometimes for basics such as school shoes, heating or food.
Rev Paul Oxley, vicar of St Marks, said: “Milton Keynes has always been proud of its children and young people. We are one of the youngest cities in Europe; we have built play parks and safe paths for our children to cycle on, but if we’re not careful, we’ll have abandoned a generation of those same children
"Imagine if we could create a future where no child in Milton Keynes ever needed to go to bed hungry?…That would be something worth shouting about.”
To discover more about the project, find out ways you can get involved, or donate, search for St Marks Meals on Facebook or visit www.stmarksmk.com/meals
Rev Oxley, who contributes regularly to Radio 2’s Pause for Thought, started St Mark’s in 2012 with a ‘congregation’ of just three people.
Today the church has a large following. They meet in several places, sometimes for prayer, sometimes for a drink, and other times “just for the heck of it”, says Paul.