No person should go hungry. And now, some Stockport businesses and residents have teamed up to help support the community’s most vulnerable.
Stockport-based Ate Days A Week, an inventive, music-themed classic British restaurant and takeaway run by Andy James, has teamed up with independent cocktail business Cherry Jam Stockport and the Vara family to offer free meals to anyone who needs them.
Starting this week, the collective will be giving out free meal bundles for 150 people from across the community, on a first come first served basis.
Offering free meals is something Andy started last year during lockdown, when the government stopped free school meals before Marcus Rashford’s campaign.
“We gave out free kids meals at Ate Days A Week and had tokens at the front of the restaurant that people could just grab if they needed a meal,” says Andy.
“Because people can feel ashamed about asking for help, and we wanted to get away from that.
“We just wanted to make it as open as possible.”
Starting this week, the 150 free meals from the Stockport colective will include a hot meal, with the choice of a hotpot from Cherry Jam, or a vegetable curry and rice from the Varas.
There will also be fresh fruit and a roast chicken sandwich from Ate Days A Week, who also have a stall at outdoor food market Hatch in addition to their Stockport restaurant.
“The sandwich is cold so people can have that later in the day, and there’s fruit, so we’ve tried to keep it as nutritionally balanced as possible,” he says.
Andy says he felt compelled to help when he saw “the photos of the abysmal packages handed out” – referring to the free school meal parcels provided by the government, which attracted widespread criticism across social media.
“I mentioned to Cherry Jam that I wanted to do something again, and they were on board.
“And I put it in a WhatsApp group, and a friend of Mini Vara said he’d love to help, and could make curries to bring along and be given out.
“We can’t count on the elected powers that be to look after us, so we’ll look after anyone we can!
“No questions asked. Any age, any colour, any creed, any walk of life is welcome.
“Hopefully we can help as many people as possible.”
Meals will be served at Ate Days A Week, 8 Vernon Street, Stockport, SK1 1TY from 12pm starting on Wednesday 20th January, and every Wednesday after that throughout lockdown. You can find out more here.