Written by Bella Mezger
On Saturday 23rd January, over 700 people received meals as part of St Mary’s Church Andover’s third round of the Host-a-Roast scheme.
In total 237 food boxes were delivered by volunteers to 165 families identified from 13 local schools and two secondary schools. Additional boxes went to Winchester Night Shelter, Sarum House and the Andover Crisis Centre.
The meal boxes, full of fresh vegetables, meat, yummy treats and a menu card were delivered to 704 individuals – including 303 adults and 401 children. There were vegetarian options where preferred and where possible, food was sourced from local suppliers.
The Host-a-Roast scheme is funded by DEFRA through Test Valley Borough Council and run by an amazing team of dedicated volunteers from St Mary’s Church in Andover, helping to pack, load vehicles and deliver these meals out to each family. Andover Foodbank also contributed extra goodies to keep spirits high during lockdown.
The outreach scheme was designed to help towards alleviating food poverty amongst the most vulnerable primary school aged children and their families in Andover, particularly during Covid-19.
It builds on the success in delivering a ‘Host-a-Roast’ scheme carried out in collaboration with eight primary schools across Andover during the six-week period of the summer holidays of 2020. It follows a National Food Strategy key recommendation that ‘eating well in childhood is the foundation stone of equality of opportunity. It is essential for both physical and mental growth’
The boxes have been very gratefully received, “I was amazed at the quality and quantity of food in the boxes” said one recipient.
During these times, every precaution was taken to keep volunteers, staff, and recipients of the food box scheme as safe and protected as possible.
The next Host-a-Roast will take place in February when it is hoped to include a food offering for older people who would benefit.
Here are some photos of the host a roast team at work at St marys Church in Andover