A Preston woman is fighting child hunger by providing free breakfasts at her Ribbleton cafe.Advertisement
Helen Ball from Broadgate runs Top Cafe in Ribbleton Lane. After hearing a radio interview with a teaching assistant from St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, Helen decided to try to help families who are struggling to feed their children before school.
From Monday 9 September, Helen will be opening Top Cafe half an hour early, at 8am, to provide cereal, toast and juice for the children and a cuppa for parents.
Helen said: “I don’t normally listen to the news as I’m sick of bad news, but by chance I heard this interview on Friday where a teaching assistant was talking about the difficulties parents face, and how children are turning up to school on an empty stomach.
“It makes me feel really sad because I’ve been in that position. When my older children were younger there were times when I had no cash and I had to ask family to help with food for breakfast.
“Now I’m in a position where I’ve got this little cafe and I thought, ‘Can I do this? Yeah, go on. For the sake of a few boxes of cereal, I’m sure I can afford that per week’.”
Helen is planning to contact local schools, such as Deepdale Primary, Holme Slack Community Primary, and St Gregory’s Catholic Primary, to make them aware of her offer.
Helen’s daughter Kirsty Brown paid tribute to her mum’s generosity. She said: “I’m extremely proud of her, but she has always been like this.
“In the past she has brought people who are homeless home for food, showers etc., and even invited them for Christmas. Even if it wasn’t advertised, if she saw a child, parent or anyone in need she wouldn’t think twice about helping.”
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Since posting her plans on Facebook, Helen has been inundated with donations of cereal from parents who are able to help, plus offers of support from local companies.
Asked if she was worried about Facebook commenters warning about parents taking advantage of her generous offer, Helen said: “I’m not there to judge parents. I’m there to help kids out. If I can stop one child going to school hungry then that’s what I want to do.”
Top Cafe is situated at 248 Ribbleton Lane. Free breakfasts will be provided during term time on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays between 8am and 9am. For more information visit the Top Cafe Facebook page.
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What do you think of Helen’s free breakfasts to help struggling families? Let us know in the comments below.