Our community champions are working closely with local charities as they help ensure more families get access to the healthy food they need this summer.
Our Healthy Holidays grants enable local charities to run more activities for children over the holidays and helps provide access to food during the holidays.
The funding from the Asda Foundation supports the small, grass roots organisations with the aim to help provide food provision to more people, reducing inequality and improving access so that no child feels different or excluded from participation.
One of the charities our Rugby store’s community champion Alison Scrace works with is Make Lunch, a charity based at St Matthew’s and St Oswald’s Church.
The charity normally invites families into a local school twice a week during the holidays for a full meal, as well as activities for the children and parents.
But with the Covid-19 crisis meaning they can’t currently get together, the charity is instead providing 32 families with food bags with recipes and instructions for two full family meals, bags of additional essential food supplies and Asda vouchers.
Alison has been working with the charity during every school holiday since the summer of 2017, securing Healthy Holidays grants from the Asda Foundation and donating the ingredients they need to make the meals.
She said: "I’m very passionate about my local community and will support it however I can.
“The Healthy Holidays scheme makes such a difference to these groups. People need our support more than ever, so on behalf of the store I really want to do whatever I can to help.
"I have just passed 10 years with Asda so I’ve developed a lot of contacts over time and people are familiar with our work and how we can help. I will contact them when I know about funding rather than waiting for them to come to me asking for help.”
As well as providing food, the Make Lunch charity is coming up with activities to keep children entertained.
Alison says the support is always well received.
She said: “Seeing the smiles on children’s faces when they’re getting something, however small, like a colouring book or a lunch box full of nice food, is always so nice, and you can see this is making such a difference.”
Alison works closely with the charity when they’re planning meals – swapping messages on Facebook a couple of days before the food bags are distributed by the team of volunteers to discuss recipes and confirm the ingredients they need.
Alison Farnell, Make Lunch coordinator, says the donations of food and Asda Foundation grants make a huge difference to their work.
She said: "The help from Asda has been absolutely great and I have to say Allie’s been a great help. We couldn’t function without the grant we have got and the gifts in kind.
"We keep in touch with families through texts and every week we ask people if they needed help and every week we get two or three families saying they don’t have food because they had lost their job or been in furlough and waiting for Universal Credit. I have seen people just crying because the sense of relief is so great when they receive the bags.”
The team at Donnington Community Hub called in to our Donnington Wood store to collect a £500 Asda Foundation grant for their healthy holidays project, below.
Richard Overton, the hub's community centre manager, said: "Asda Donnington Wood have supported the community hub a lot, but this grant for healthy holidays is something we can't thank them enough for. The funding helps us to deliver activities and feed the children during the school holidays. Asda and their community champion June Walker do such fantastic work and we are really grateful that through this funding we can deliver the support needed for the young people of Donnington."
Store manager John Perry said: "It's great to know that the continued support from the community hub has gone ahead during the uncertain times and that the children will be well fed during the school holidays."
The team at Families First based in the Brunswick Park Centre in Newcastle sent our Gosforth store's community champion Michelle Castledine this photo, below, thanking us for the £438 healthy holidays grant supporting the activities they're running during the school holidays.
The centre has been running lots of activities throughout the summer including bike riding, crafts, painting and sports. All children who've attended also received a free meal thanks to the funding.
City Catering Southampton are providing food for cook-at-home projects over the school holidays after receiving a £500 healthy holidays grant.
Jess Clapsby-Monk, from the charity who works closely with our Southampton store, said they would usually provide free hot meals to children attending a number of holiday clubs, but due to the current situation they've had to do things differently this year. Instead they've made up grocery packs together with recipes which have gone to families in the city.
Thanking Asda for the donation, she said: "The feedback from families so far has been really good – they've really enjoyed doing the cooking projects." Pictured, above, loading the van up with grocery packs is volunteer Daniel.
The Foundry Church in Widnes received a £500 Healthy Holidays grant from the Asda Foundation for their summer holiday Make Lunch project, pictured below.
Ste Greenow from the church, said they were "incredibly grateful" for the grant. He said: "We've been able to provide healthy packed lunches to families twice a week doing the holidays thanks to the funding. They've been getting a healthy combination of sandwiches, wraps and pasta pots together with fruit and yoghurts. The lunch bags have definitely put a smile on a lot of people's faces."
Our Widnes store's community champion Katy Snelson said: "We are extremely proud as a store to be able to support this fantastic group. They are supporting the most vulnerable families in our community over the summer holidays."
Here's Christine and Lorraine, community champions at our Bolton and Burnden Park stores, above, helping to put together some breakfast bags for Johnson Fold County Primary School after they were awarded a £500 Healthy Holidays grant.
Christine said: "The school were delighted with the grant and can't thank the Asda Foundation enough. The school is donating breakfast bags which include juice, porridge, yoghurts, fruit and crumpets or potato cakes to 80 families of pupils during the holidays. We'd like to thank Bolton At Home too for helping to deliver the bags."
These children from Oldbury Court Out-of-School Club in Bristol just wanted to say a big thank you to the Asda Foundation and our Longwell Green store for their Healthy Holidays grant of £423.97.
Amy, who helps to run the group, said the money was being used to provide healthy lunches during the school holidays. She said: "Everyone at the club was very thankful for the donation. The parents are all very appreciative as they know their children will have a wide selection of food to choose from and they don’t need to worry about providing them with a packed lunch. The children have all enjoyed being able to try a variety of different fruits and vegetables as well as learning about where in in the world it is grown."
The fabulous volunteers at Shine Pinehurst in Swindon, pictured above, are providing food for cook-at-home projects over the school holidays after receiving their £500 grant from the Foundation and our Swindon Haydon store.
Simon Hall, from charity, said they would usually provide free hot meals to children attending their community centre, but due to the current coronavirus situation they've had to do things differently this year. Instead, they've created a "dinner-in-a-bag" project and put easy step-by-step instructions on YouTube for families to follow.
Simon said: "The funding from the Asda Foundation has been a massive help and has really made the project become a reality this summer. For some people it's helped them financially by providing a meal, for others it's provided a really important activity for the family to do together. We've had loads of really positive feedback too. Some people are just so proud that they've been able to cook things for themselves. One of the mums told us it was the first time that she'd made real macaroni cheese for her family."