Children from one of Wales’ most deprived areas are getting free hot meals after school – thanks to a partnership between the local church and school.
Counties evangelist Mike Thomas is leading a new after-school club called Chomp! at Rumney Gospel Chapel in East Cardiff. The weekly club offers children the chance to cook hot and nutritional meals, which they then eat together along with their parents.
Most of the children at Chomp! come from the local school Greenway Primary, where approximately two-thirds of the pupils receive free school meals. This is a means-tested indication of poverty and the highest in Wales.
Mike said: “A lot of families rely on free school meals that are obviously only available during school hours, and a lot of children miss out on healthy meals at home. Some parents struggle to buy food, especially things that are nutritionally healthy to feed to their children.
“We hope that Chomp! will not only help families get a decent meal in the evening but also provide them with the skills to identify and make healthy choices to cook at home.”
Each week, food is provided free of charge to the club, thanks to a partnership with the charity Fareshare Cymru. So far families have been cooking tasty meatballs, chicken, pasta and rice dishes.
Jayne Rowlands, a local volunteer who runs the kitchen at Chomp! said: “It was a real eye opener when we started the cooking club. At the beginning some of the children didn’t even know where some vegetables came from, or understand the importance of washing your hands before, during and after preparing food.
“We met some very hungry children, who learnt essential life skills. What encouraged me the most was seeing the look on the children’s faces when they were eating the food they’d prepared and realising just how tasty it was. I think Chomp! is a fantastic idea!”
Mike added: “We also hope Chomp! will help us build lasting relationships with families in our local area. One of the issues people face in coming along to church is the big step in crossing the perceived boundary of the front door.
“We hope that in opening up our building to the community, people will feel more at home and there will be one less obstacle for them in coming along to our regular programmes such as Messy Church or the Sunday morning family service.”
For more information about Chomp! contact Mike Thomas on firstname.lastname@example.org
PHOTO: a recent cooking club at Rumney Chapel. Credit: Dave Sargent
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