Mansfield’s ‘School’s Out’ scheme gifts Christmas dinners to town's children in need

A heartwarming Mansfield scheme which supports struggling children through school holidays has handed out hundreds of Christmas parcels.

Tuesday, 10th December 2019, 11:08 am

The School’s Out project, which was launched to help children who are living “under the breadline”, showed its festive spirit by ensuring no child goes hungry on Christmas Day.

It gave out food parcels to children who had collected ‘School’s Out’ vouchers, including enough resources to ensure their Christmas plate was full to the brim with hearty goods.

Families came from as far as Meden Vale to take advantage of the “lifeline” scheme, with food, presents and selection boxes on offer to those in need.

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School's Out project, Mansfield handing out food parcels and giving children the chance to meet Santa, pictured with the food parcels are Janet Spencer and Anne Callaghan.

And the children also had the opportunity to meet Santa Claus, where they received gifts ranging from doll houses and Nerf guns to make-up and magic sets.

Janet Spencer, a volunteer and organiser at the drop-off, said it was "heartwarming” to see smiling children receiving their parcels.

She said: “It is a lifeline for families. Over the Christmas period there will be children going hungry because they aren't receiving free school meals.

“When the children received their parcels it sent our volunteers to tears. To see their faces opening presents and meeting Santa melts your heart.”

School's Out project, Mansfield handing out food parcels and giving children the chance to meet Santa, pictured with Santa are Wayne Birch, 10, Kayden Wilson, five, Bailey Wilson, five and Casey Wilson, six

The scheme gave out fully-kitted Christmas dinners for the families, including stuffing, potatoes and vegetables, but left out the meat.

It also had a range of selection boxes on offer for the children to choose from, as well as the presents.

Volunteers at the scheme are now looking to replenish their stock ahead of another Christmas parcel day on December 21, and are looking for an array of donations.

Janet added: “We're looking for winter socks and shoes, as well as other items such as gifts and toys people may want to donate.

School's Out project, Mansfield handing out food parcels and giving children the chance to meet Santa, pictured with Santa is one year old Cathleen.

“We’ve been very lucky so far having donations from St Peter and St Paul’s, the Mansfield Woodhouse Methodist and the Seventh Day Adventist churches, but we need as much as anyone can donate. It’s such an important cause.”

Donations can be made at St Peter and St Paul’s Church, on Church Street, from 9am-3pm Monday to Thursday.

You can also donate items by visiting the NUM building, at Byron House near the St Peter’s Retail Park.