Bolton colleagues team up to help local charity give children lunches over summer holidays
This summer our stores’ community champions have been helping more children stay healthy, well fed and active during the holidays – like Christine Baldwin, Kayleigh McGrillen and Carolina Worthington, who’ve been getting stuck in to help a wonderful charity make and give out thousands of packed lunches.
The colleagues, who are based at our Bolton, Harwich and Farnworth stores, joined volunteers from Urban Outreach making sandwiches to be given out at children's centres and community groups.
The Bolton charity aims to help vulnerable and disadvantaged children whose families struggle when they lose access to free school meals over summer.
The project has also been boosted by £3,000 in Asda Foundation funding from its new Healthy Holiday Fund – £1,000 from each store.
Urban Outreach founder Dave Bagley said: "We have to raise money each year for the lunches, so every penny we get is critical. But we love having Christine, Kayleigh and Carolina on board – it's even more valuable than the money.
"They're Asda's community champions but when they're with us, they become our champions.
"They get what we're trying to do, they help us get the word out and get other people involved too – they're brilliant ambassadors.
"Christine has been involved in helping us for several years, and local children now know her as 'The Sandwich Lady'.
"This is the fifth summer we've given out packed lunches to vulnerable children at childrens' centres, community centres and churches in deprived areas across Bolton.
"These are young people who are in receipt of free school meals, and so may well need these packed lunches to keep them fed and healthy throughout the summer holidays.
"This summer we will give out around 48,000 packed lunches over six weeks."
Christine said: "This project is an absolutely fantastic example of our community working together. I've been community champion for eight years, and I've never seen anything on this scale.
"It's a really valuable cause, because there are always children queuing up outside the centres for these packed lunches.
"We've been joining the volunteers to prepare the packed lunches at 7am. We make the sandwiches – either tuna, cheese or ham – and add a healthy snack bar, a piece of fruit and a juice drink.
"We then help the volunteers load the vans so the lunches can be distributed across the town.
"I've been going along to Oldham's Children Centre in Astley Bridge every Thursday to meet the children and give out the packed lunches. We give out around 80 a day from that one centre.
"Carolina has been helping out at the New Bury UCAN Centre in Farnworth, and Kayleigh's started volunteering at a centre in Horwich too. It's a pleasure for us all to be involved in such a wonderful project.
"This is my fourth year working with them, and we also help out with Urban Outreach's foodbank."