Church serves 120 meals a week via family support programme
18 August 2020
St Mary Magdalene, Gorleston has adapted its support for families in light of the COVID-19 situation and seen a significant increase in uptake.
The “church on the mag” first launched its FAM programme in August 2019 with the aim of supporting families identified by the local primary schools during the school holidays. From then, until the lockdown began, families were invited once a week during each school holiday for an hour of activities, followed by a two course hot meal for the whole family. However, with the social distancing regulations they have had to adapt the operating model.
Revd Matthew Price, Vicar of St Mary Magdalene Church, explains, “we realised that we wouldn’t be able to accommodate all the families in our church hall with the social distancing requirements, so we have opted for a delivery model this holiday. Each Wednesday a team of volunteers deliver a two course meal for families to heat up, alongside a bag of activities for the families to do together.
“We’ve also set up a dedicated Facebook group so that the families can share photos of what their children create and we can all stay connected during the week.”
This holiday the FAM programme is serving 27 families which amounts to approximately 120 meals each week. Each family has been referred to the church by one of the primary schools in the parish and the deliveries will continue for each of the six weeks of the school summer holidays.
After the first week, one of the recipients commented, “a big thank you from [our] family. We are having our first home-cooked meal for months. Far call from the ready meals we usually have.”
Another mum said, “a big thank you for including my daughter, who has additional needs, with the family activity packs. Each week there have been fun, sensory activities from rainbow rice, snowballs, coloured wool and her favourite, bubbles, as well as a lovely crochet rainbow. She has really enjoyed using them, as have my other three in the activities provided for them, thank you.”
Tony, who is one of the volunteers delivering the meals and activity packs, said, “at my last delivery all the children had to come down [from their upstairs flat] because they wanted to meet ‘the man who brings the food’. Such a joyous experience.”
The Revd Price also paid tribute to the Norfolk Community Foundation for their support of a grant which funded the programme and to Kingsgate Community Church who are assisting in the production of some of the main courses.