Local Barnet Community Project Volunteer, Karen Hedges has been recognised as a Hidden Hero thanks to her commitment to the local community. Karen voluntarily runs a Barnet based lunch kitchen and has served over 5,000 meals to prevent holiday hunger and ensure that children from low-income families receive a hot meal during the school holidays.
Karen was awarded the accolade of Hidden Hero by hotel industry charity Room to Reward and will now receive a complimentary short break in a participating hotel in recognition of her inspirational work within Barnet.
A spokesperson from Make Lunch explained why Karen is so exceptional: “Karen manages a fantastic team of volunteers drawn from across the community, working in partnership with the community centre, schools, churches, food banks and other local services. Their care of the families they meet is exceptional. Karen knows so many of them personally and cares deeply for their well-being, making sure they’re signposted to other support services wherever appropriate. At Make Lunch, we were so pleased to see Karen receive this award both in recognition of her personal hard work and investment in the project but also on behalf of all our volunteers across the UK. We believe that one meal for one child makes a difference, we know that every single volunteer at every single Kitchen is important. ”
More than 1.2 million school children who may otherwise go without, are eligible to receive free school meals. Outside of term time, though, free school meals are not available and many pupils are left without regular hot food.
During school holidays, Make Lunch’s network of churches and community groups open Lunch Kitchens across the UK to provide free, healthy, cooked food for pupils who usually receive free school meals. Since they started in July 2011 Make Lunch have cooked and served over 48,000 meals in more than 100 locations in England, Scotland and Wales. All their Kitchens are run by volunteers and rely on donations of money and time to make things happen.
Room to Reward’s Charity Director Adam Terpening commented: “Karen’s nomination was hugely compelling. Holiday Hunger is a very real problem of modern day society and Karen’s dedication to her community is outstanding and as such to be able to acknowledge this with a short respite break has been an honour.”