A charity providing children who've struggled in mainstream education with the practical skills they need for adult life says the better quality food they're receiving from a new distribution centre opened thanks to the Asda Fight Hunger Create Change initiative is putting smiles on students' faces.
Melton Learning Hub, a centre providing food, education and activities, is one of the dozens of groups in the East Midlands to receive much-needed supplies from FareShare's in Leicester. Deliveries from the hub reach tens of thousands of people.
Centre manager Sarah Cox says the volume and quality of food they receive has improved massively since the new depot opened, and lots of the youngsters are really happy to be trying meals they may not normally get at home.
She said: "It's so heartening to see that an organisation like Asda is supporting FareShare and working together to ensure food doesn't go to waste.
"Since the new warehouse opened, the supplies we get are phenomenal. When we get deliveries it's like Christmas every week.
"Through our relationship with FareShare, we can offer around 200 meals for young people a week, from breakfast to curries and pasta bakes. The deliveries we get each week cover 99% of the costs for our food.
"The variety of food allows the children to try things that they just wouldn't get at home for a variety of reasons.
"We can now offer protein rich food – lots of types of chicken, minced beef, joints of beef, fruit and vegetables – meaning we can now offer proper roasts! We get smoothies too which they love.
"Eighty five percent of the children here are entitled to free school meals. They love coming here for a meal."
Our Thurmaston store's community champion Melissa Young called in to help the team serve meals and chatted to Sarah about how the store can help Melton Learning Hub in the future.
Sarah said: "It was great to meet Melissa too. She's lovely and even brought us some Christmas crackers as a donation. We're hoping to work together in the future."
Melton Learning Hub provides vocational training in a variety of subjects as well as healthy cooking sessions, budgeting advice and evening activities. It also hosts a Mencap cooking group which is using food donated from the FareShare warehouse.
Melissa said: "The hub is a fantastic, inspiring place. What they do for the kids there is brilliant.
"The whole atmosphere was great. The kids were so bubbly – there are so many activities for them.
"I'll definitely be going back to volunteer – I'm happy to help them in any way I can."