There will be fun, games and food on offer to youngsters at two Monkseaton churches to help combat holiday hunger this summer.
The activity lunches are back at St Peter’s Monkseaton and St Andrew’s URC in response to requests from local schools.
They are providing a joint free programme of food and activities for children and their carers throughout the summer holidays.
Youngsters aged five to 13 can take part in 45 minutes of games and crafts followed by lunch, twice a week.
Sessions are hosted by St Peter’s on Tuesdays and by St Andrew’s on Thursdays.
Emma Doran, churchwarden of St Peter’s, said up to 20 children attended each lunch last year, when the scheme was first launched.
“We didn’t want to just give out meals to the children as we knew that the they would get bored, so we offer games and crafts before we eat,” she said.
“This also gives a chance for carers to have a break too, while the children let off steam. It is so much more than just a meal – it offers friendship, fellowship and a bit of respite.”
Food for the meals is donated from the local Morrisons supermarket and the Whitley Bay food bank. It is supported by a grant from the Newcastle Diocese charity Partners in Community Action.
The Rev Matthew Prevett, Minister of St Andrew’s URC said: “It wouldn’t have been possible to provide these sessions without the support of our congregations and the many contributions from the community. We extend our sincere thanks to them all for their assistance.”
Leaders running the programme also said they noticed that grandparents are often involved in childcare over the summer holidays – the lunch club offers them some respite too. Carers at the lunch club are provided with food as well as the children. During the craft session the team can assess how many people they need to cook for, and prepare the right amount of food to reduce waste.