Meals Matters - Walton-on-the-Naze, Essex

Walton-on-the-Naze in Essex has recently started a free weekly lunch, available for everyone in the town. Almost 300 meals have been served in the first eight weeks. On average, about 40 people now benefit from the Meals Matters scheme each week with 25 volunteers on hand.

Emmanuel Church, a Methodist and United Reformed Church LEP (Local Ecumenical Partnership) is working with the nearby foodbank and Walton Churches Together. Food and economic poverty along with social isolation have led to an increasing awareness of the need to reach out to the community. Jane Robinson, the local foodbank coordinator had the idea of a free weekly lunch about five years ago and started working with local churches to make it happen. Community funders, local shops and supermarkets are also supporting the venture.

Even though Meals Matters is in its early stages, plans are already being discussed to encourage a one-stop support base and to provide meals for families during school holidays.

The Revd Chris Preece said: "Emmanuel Church is striving to be at the heart of serving its local community. The establishment of Meals Matters weekly lunch is enabling a wider ecumenical network to come together to share God’s love with the whole town which is hugely exciting."

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