A club in Wokingham set up initially to help families during the school holidays has been delivering food to people’s homes during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Grub Club was started as a community organisation designed to help households whose children would normally get free school meals during term-time.
In the midst of the pandemic, which has caused job losses and seen people struggle to put food on the table for their families, the club has been doing what it can to provide additional support.
Team member Anna Rodgers said coronavirus had affected the Grub Club’s community and particularly low-income families in the area.
She said: “When we started back in 2019, we were catering for around 35 families but, since the pandemic, the number of referrals has rocketed and we now cater for well over 50 families.
“We are now seeing families come from all different areas and also a lot of self-referrals as well, which has been the biggest difference. Lots of people have referred themselves to our Facebook page to ask for help or to refer a friend.
“It has grown so much that we now have so many people from different areas, which we have had to assign to other groups in their area.”
Before the pandemic, the Grub Club was hosted in a local church, where families would come together to sit down and eat as a group – as well as enjoy activities with their children.
Anna said: “Of course now we’ve had to provide things differently, so instead of people coming in to eat together ,we’ve had to focus on delivering things to people – which means putting packs together of ingredients for meals as people love to cook and delivering the activities. It’s been a challenge.”
The Grub Club believes that children should enjoy their holidays, which is why they arranged lots of activities to occupy them.
Anna said: “When we were able to be meet in person, the kids were really able to benefit from the activities, such as someone from the library coming in to do reading challenges.
“We had someone coming in to do drama, which the kids absolutely loved, we had someone to do art and one of the mums got something together for crafts. We did have lined up some sports trainers from the local leisure centre but, unfortunately, that was unable to take place.
“We also purchased a large supply of a recipe book which we gave to every family that we support and then the ingredients which we sent out were for a recipe from that book. We tried to educate as well as keeping it nutritional by picking a healthy meal and we have still been providing that book to people who have joined recently.”
The summer holidays are coming up soon, which could see The Grub Club’s numbers rise again – and, as the coronavirus restrictions are slowly being lifted – this could mean returning to sit-down meals as a group.