Teenager leading the way to help bring free school meals to rural village
- Credit: Charlotte Bond
A 16-year-old girl has been leading the way to bring free school meals to those in need in her village.
Nell Anders, 16, has helped to set up a free school meal programme in Rendlesham.
She was inspired by the work of England and Manchester United football player Marcus Rashford who has been fighting to ensure that no school children who are usually entitled to free school meals went without.
Nell wondered if there was a way to help people living in Rendlesham.
“I had been seeing it on the news,” said Mell.
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“So I said is there anything we could do.”
The Farlingaye High School pupil approached the Rendlesham Good Neighbour Scheme to see if they could help her with her ideas.
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“I had a message from Mell on the Thursday asking if anything could be done,” said Dave Moore, who leads the Rendlesham Good Neighbour Scheme (GNS).
“That’s how it started.”
Just four days after Nell’s call the scheme was up and running and serving its first customers within the village.
Volunteers, including Nell, are making up lunches, including sandwiches, in their homes and bagging them up with other items for children.
The meals are left at the St Felix Church for people to collect discreetly.
There is no application, nor criteria for eligibility, the project works purely on trust.
“We are calling it the Rendlesham Meal Deal,” said Mr Moore.
“We are doing about six to ten meals a day.”
“It takes a lot for people to accept help,” said Nell.
It’s not the first time that Mell has volunteered to help the local community.
Nell had already been helping out the village through the coronavirus pandemic.
She was previously sent out to local shops to get goods for people who were unable to leave their homes.
The “meal deal” scheme will continue to run in Rendlesham throughout the half term break but the GNS say it could be extended to cover the Christmas break if still required.
Mell hopes that she will be able to continue helping her local community, despite now studying for her A Levels.
“I will do as much as I can,” said Nell.