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Leeds volunteer collects over 100kg of food donations within a week

A volunteer from Leeds has collected 100kg of food donations within a week of sharing to social media pages.

Laura Ciesielska, 20, organised a food drive on 29 October 2020 and used social media to share her event. She received a wide response from the Leeds community who donated over 100kg of food donations, including cleaning products, hygiene products and baby products.

Laura was motivated to contribute to the charity Rainbow Junk-tion over the government’s refusal to administer free school meals over the half-term holiday.

Having faced personal experiences with poverty herself, she said: “The effects of malnutrition on children can be devastating. When children skip meals because their families cannot afford it, it leads to them not being able to focus in school. And from a young age, it can also affect brain development”.

Boris Johnson has defended his refusal to extend free school meals for children in England over the half-term holiday and has said he is proud of the government’s support so far.

Laura found a food drive but wasn’t able to donate, so she said: “Since I couldn’t donate myself, I decided to get social media going and get in touch with local businesses to raise awareness. And I never expected the phenomenal response”.

She decided to team up with Hyde Park Book Club who accommodated her with a set up for the donations. Staff member of Hyde Park Book Club, Meg Firth said: “Half of the entrance was piled with food. On the weekend we had over 40 bags from neighbours. Coming from doing their own food shops and giving their bags to us”.

The business had unused resources such as cans that were unused due to changes in their menu and had a lot of stock piled up to donate.

Meg said: “We hope it has a knock-on effect to inspire businesses to participate. It is easy to promote on social media and people respond well. If every business did this for their area it could have a significant positive effect. Food banks need all the help they can get.”

Hyde Park Book Club will continue to receive donations from the 31 October. Donations after this date can be delivered directly to the charity, Rainbow Junk-tion. This charity is a part of the Real Junk Food Project that aims to reduce food waste and food poverty, and to create community. Open Monday and Thursday 12-3pm, for hot food and groceries.

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