A KIND-HEARTED fundraising team at a catering firm who raised £7,000 for key workers have now turned their hand to helping children in need by donating 500 meals during half term.

Colchester-based company Black Jacket Group set up its Thank Our Heroes initiative during lockdown as a means of showing gratitude to those who have worked throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

After Premier League footballer Marcus Rashford called on businesses and communities to come together to help hungry children during half term, the team decided to throw their weight behind the project.

Director William Grinstead said: “The demand was absolutely huge and we have cleared out 500 meals in no time.

“We have had individual families and also schools get in touch - one school had at least 169 families to support.

“We need help to get to 1,000 meals, as we want to make sure no-one is left to go hungry.”

The firm’s scheme is supported by the Flag Burger, in Wivenhoe, and Colchester Food Bank.

The team is appealing for help to raise £1,000 to help fund another 500 lunches for families in need over the half term period.

A lunch package will be produced that contains ingredients to make hot healthy lunches and a recipe card for a week’s worth of meals for a child.

Last month, the team of 13 raised £7,000 for key workers by climbing the UK’s tallest mountains in a single day.

A drive to help feed children over half term started after Conservative MPs defeated a motion to extend a free school meals scheme across the school holidays.

The motion was defeated by a majority of 61.

Ministers are now examining how holiday clubs could be used to feed hungry youngsters in England in an effort to solve the free school meals row.

The Holiday Activity and Food Programme is the brainchild of Henry Dimbleby, the Government’s food tsar and co-founder of the Leon restaurant chain, and was trialled across 17 local authorities over the summer.

Mr Dimbleby said the Government “isn’t doing enough” to address the issue of children going hungry and called for urgent action.

Ministers said they were examining the pilot schemes to see what lessons could be learned and Boris Johnson is reported to be considering giving extra funds to councils to set up the clubs.

Business Minister Nadhim Zahawi told Sky News: “These are incredibly important pilots and we will look at how we can learn from those and how we can build on this.

“The best way to do it is through local government.”

To donate to the cause, visit thankourheroes.uk/donate.