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Milton Keynes: local generosity fuels Christmas lunch for those in need

Almost 500 people turned up for a Christmas lunch organised by Milton Keynes church Clean Slate last weekend ...

Following word-of-mouth invitations to low-income and single-parent families, the elderly, the homeless and anyone who suffers from loneliness, 463 people turned up for Christmas lunch at CleanSlate Church in Tongwell, Milton Keynes on 17 December …

With the help of 60 volunteers and a lot of donations, the four-course, slap-up CleanSlate FeedMK meal was enjoyed by all.
“Some people have suffered from rejection for years, or even decades, so we wanted to make everybody feel welcome – it was our priority. Our guests were invited through local charities including Open Door, Winter Night Shelter, Sure Start, the MK Food Bank and churches. Local media publicised it, which boosted offers to volunteer on the day.
“The generosity of local businesses has been terrific. Some made financial donations and others helped facilitate the lunch. For example, Sainsbury’s at Willen collected food for the lunch in their store.
“FareShare, a charity working on the frontline of hunger in the UK, was another source of food, while the MK Community Foundation supported us through its small grants scheme,” explained John Daly, a founder member of FeedMK and CleanSlate Church.
It took half a tonne of food and five sittings to feed everyone. Although this large-scale charitable catering is admirable enough, volunteers took it to another level by arranging a visit from Santa.
There were four minibuses to collect guests without access to transport. It seemed nothing – and nobody – was overlooked.
FeedMK is one of our amazing city’s success stories: it has been fuelled by kind hearts and a genuine longing to help those struggling in Milton Keynes. It was started in 2010 by a handful of friends who fed 80 people at FeedMK’s first ever meal, and last autumn it received charity status.
““We simply can’t thank everyone enough, including all the volunteers, people who donated, and of course our amazing guests! We hear so many stories from FeedMK of how it affects people's lives and how much the whole day has such a positive influence on every individual that comes through the CleanSlate doors,” concluded Darren Turney, a founder member of FeedMK and CleanSlate Church.

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