Since April 2020, the Square Meals Project has delivered more than 22,500 Free two-course ready meals to shielded over-65s, those with serious care issues and vulnerable families in Bath and surrounding towns.
In March last year, our commercial kitchen at Bath Masonic Hall closed when the Hall was shut in accordance with government and UGLE directives. In mid-April we reopened it and launched the Square Meals Project for the preparation and supply of ready meals for distribution daily, free of charge at the point of delivery. We particularly targeted shielded over-65s, those with serious care issues and families lacking the resources to feed themselves adequately without the provision of school meals. As of today, the project has delivered more than 22,500 two-course meals to vulnerable citizens in Bath and surrounding towns.
The original intention was to run the project for the period of the first Lockdown. However, situations have continually changed during this crisis, and the project has been extended, first to September 2020, and then to January 2021. This was funded by the generosity of our Members and Lodges, with support from both MCF and MBF. With the advent of Lockdown 3 we extended the project again and, thanks to further donations and pledges from Lodges and members in Bath, Keynsham, Midsomer Norton and Frome, plus the support of Somerset Craft and Mark Provinces, our overall appeal has now raised in excess of £50,000, enabling us to continue at least until Easter with the target of taking our deliveries beyond 28,000 meals.
We have not achieved these results alone. Our chef Ben Hayward and his team, cook the meals but the distribution is achieved through external channels. These include the Childrens’ Centres in Bath, Keynsham and Radstock run by B&NES Council who look after vulnerable children in their localities. In addition there are two local charities, Mercy in Action in Twerton and Sporting Family Change in Midsomer Norton, who supply vulnerable individuals and families in the area.
Those two charities have now launched a public appeal through a ‘Local Giving’ page which can be found by clicking on this link. All of the money they raise will be channelled to our project to fund the production of 5,000 further meals and, if successful, this will extend our ability to support those two charities into the summer, by which time we can only hope that matters will have improved sufficiently that we are no longer needed.
For more information on the project, please view the video below: