Shropshire Star

Church volunteers cook up new project helping those struggling to make ends meet

As families struggle to make ends meet as the cost of living rises, one volunteer has come up with an answer.

Pictured from left, Kelly Hooper, family outreach worker, Graham Jackson, from Jackson's of Shifnal and Ian Guest, from Co-Op, Bradford Street, Shifnal

Kelly Hooper, 43, said that she was shocked to hear that some pensioners might ride buses to avoid heating their homes so that they could eat in the evening.

She has now launched a project, called What's for Tea?, which sees food that would otherwise go to waste being collected from the local supermarket along with discounted meat from the local butchers.

Kelly, an outreach worker at St Andrew's Church in Shifnal, now produces a menu which is then cooked and served on Friday afternoons for £2.50 per head.

People can choose to eat in the church or take-away their meals if they would rather eat at home or to help those who are housebound.

Kelly said: "As a church we value our community whether people are part of the church congregation or not.

"With prices increases and inflation we wanted to help everyone in the community.

"The idea of serving food came up and on Thursday I collect food, mainly fruit and vegetables, which would otherwise go to waste and meat, which the local butcher allows us to buy at a discounted price.

"On Friday I create a menu which we then cook and serve for £2.50 per head.

"This Friday there was a choice of beef and ale pie, mash and vegetables, a vegetarian option of cauliflower cheese with jacket potatoes, sweet and sour chicken with rice or cottage pie.

"We started this three weeks ago at St Andrew's Church and serve the meals on Fridays from 1pm to 5pm but only in term time.

"People can come along to eat in or have a takeaway.

"The first week we served 60 people, with 41 eating in, and last week we had 49 people eating in and 25 taking meals away.

"I have created a volunteer team of 10 people who help make and serve the meals.

"I have worked with families who have struggled with food banks and wanted not only to help young people but those with families and pensioners.

"This way we help prevent food waste and cook in bulk to keep costs down and enable people to come together socially."

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