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Volunteer army deliver nearly 6,000 school lunches in a week

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Volunteers have been hailed for delivering nearly 6,000 lunches in just over a week to pupils in the borough who would usually receive free school meals.

The mammoth effort to ensure no child went hungry during the coronavirus crisis was co-ordinated by Dudley Council, Dudley Schools, Dudley Catering Services and Dudley Council for Voluntary Services (DCVS).

Around 40 people a day took part over eight days, with more than 70 members of staff from the council giving up their time alongside volunteers from DCVS.

The deliveries of 5,869 meals supported 25 primary and secondary schools while voucher schemes were put in place. Other schools made their own arrangements, which included either dropping off meals or preparing food for families to pick up.

The delivery service ended this week with government voucher systems in place from April 20 after the Easter holidays.

The voucher scheme will give families £15 per eligible child per week to spend on food at supermarkets including Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Asda and Morrisons.

Councillor Patrick Harley, leader of Dudley Council, said:

This is a really good example of people coming together at a time of need to ensure that no child in the borough goes hungry while the government’s voucher scheme is put in place.
We’ve seen council staff volunteer their time across all departments and services, from the mayor’s driver to social workers, from public health to housing.
They’ve all clubbed together and what they have achieved is nothing short of amazing.
I know they have been really gratefully received on the doorsteps by families in the borough.
I would like to extend that by personally thanking each and every one of them, along with the volunteers from Dudley CVS, headteachers and staff at Dudley Schools and the members of Dudley Catering Service.

The teams followed government guidance during the deliveries, providing hand sanitiser for volunteers and observing social distancing.

Support will be available from foodbanks and charities for the most vulnerable children or families in real need over the two-week Easter school break.

Dudley CVS is working with other charities, faith settings, foodbanks and partners to also offer crisis support over the two-week Easter school break and beyond.

The charity will endeavour to meet the needs of food and medicine deliveries for families who are self-isolating or who are unable to leave the house. That could be because they are taking care of a child with complex health needs or disabilities, and have no family, friends or neighbours who can help.

People can call Dudley CVS on (01384) 573381. The line is manned Monday to Friday, from 9.30am to 12.30pm. If families can pay, volunteers will endeavour to meet the need to shop and deliver. Those who are not in a position to pay will be referred to their local foodbank.

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