Main picture: Graham Bishop (right) with Peter Chomiak, left, landlord of Hawkins Arms, Probus.
Also pictured: Zannah Reid, owner of TimeToo cafe.
A homeworking agent in Cornwall has sparked a community effort to feed hungry kids after he offered to give free packed lunches to those in need.
Graham Bishop, of GoCruise & Travel, said on social media last week (October 22) that he disagreed with the government’s decision against funding school meals during half term – and offered to provide free packed lunches to local children.
The issue has become a national debate thanks to the campaigning efforts of England footballer Marcus Rashford.
Bishop’s social media post talked about his own opposition to the government’s move, and added: “It really does take a village to raise a child. So that’s why I will provide a free packed lunch to any child who needs it, living in Probus and surrounding villages, at any time. If you could benefit from this please reach out to me, your request will never be met with questions or judgement. #NoChildGoesHungry #FreeSchoolMeals.”
His post was shared in the village Facebook group, prompting messages of support from fellow villagers in Probus, near Truro – and now the local café and pub are offering meals to those in need.
“It has really taken off – it has snow-balled and more people and local businesses are becoming involved,” said Bishop.
He moved to Cornwall in the summer to set up a GoCruise franchise after leaving his role as south of England key account manager with G Touring, the parent of sister brands Travelsphere and Just You.
Now, thanks to his initiative, the village’s Time Too Café is offering free lunch bags over half-term, while the village pub, The Hawkins Arms, is offering free hot dinners.
He has been developing the initiative with another villager, Eleanor McCartney, and they are setting up a taskforce to help support local food banks.
“The support from the village has been overwhelming,” said Bishop.
“I am getting messages left, right and centre from people offering donations and offering to drive to make deliveries.”
He said he had been involved in a similar scheme when he lived in London, delivering Christmas hampers.
“It’s a basic right for kids to have food,” he said.
“Marcus Rashford has hundreds of thousands of people supporting him and it does not look good for the MPs [who voted against extending free school meals].
“It would cost a fraction of the ‘Eat Out To Help Out’ scheme.”
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