Masterchef winner Gary Maclean spends day with Launch Foods charity

Masterchef winner Gary Mclean with Launch Foods founder Craig Johnson

Charity, that provides hot meals to 300 Glasgow children a day, is boosted by STV Children’s Appeal funding.

Charity Launch Foods’ mission is that no child goes home from school hungry – and they’ve started with Glasgow. This week, STV Children’s Appeal ambassador, Masterchef: the Professionals winner and Scotland’s National chef Gary Maclean, visited the project to meet some of the staff and children that benefit from the funding.

Launch Foods distribute wholesome, healthy meals for around 200-300 school pupils a day in Glasgow during school term time and summer holidays from their converted food trucks. With more than 70,000 free meals provided in 2019, every child in the schools they work with is offered the service when the bell goes. For just £1 the charity can provide a hot meal, bottled water and fruit for children in communities that need it most.

Using surplus food from supermarkets and suppliers (including Highland Spring and Simon Howie) to limit food waste, the project has environmental benefits too.

The charity aims to feed and inspire as many young people as possible in the next year and, to help achieve this, have acquired a coffee shop on Glasgow’s Bothwell Street to help fund their goal. Every cup of coffee bought will help feed a child a meal. In addition to selling drinks, the founder of Launch Foods wants to give children the opportunity to learn skills such as barista training, hospitality and cooking.

Craig Johnson, Founder, Launch Foods said: “No child should go home hungry at the end of the school day. At the moment, we visit eight schools in Glasgow and provide every child that visits the truck with a hot healthy meal – but we want to do more. I want to double the amount of free meals we offer in 2020 but to do this we need an extra vehicle, more volunteers, food and staff. There are so many kind decent people out there who genuinely care and want to help and I’m so grateful – but we always need more.

“We’re launching the coffee shop in the next couple of months and every cup of coffee sold will allow us to provide a child with a hot meal. I also want the kids to come into the shop and learn some new skills. We’re grateful for the support of the STV Children’s Appeal and hope that in 2020 we can grow and provide even more hot meals for any child that wants one.”

Gary Maclean, Chef, said:“The first thing that struck me was the energy from the people involved - everyone is absolutely buzzing and motoring to get this van filled with some lovely food for the kids. It’s amazing that people are out there doing this sort of work. I think these days everyone thinks all kids are getting fed and going to bed with a full tummy and the reality is they’re not, and that’s what charities like this and the STV Children’s Appeal are all about. It breaks my heart. It’s just amazing that the guys at Launch Foods are doing what they do and have some impact on that.

“It was good to see the kids come out, and there’s plenty of food for them. Some of them are taking bundles and helping someone else. It was an incredible experience. The whole thing had an amazing feeling. Everyone knew everyone else, and the guys on the van knew the foods that the kids normally liked. The kids know when the van is coming and they really look forward to it – and they’re eating great food, healthy vegetable pasta, wraps, plenty of water and a bucket of fruit.”

The STV Children’s Appeal has donated £2000 to support Launch Food’s mission in 2020. Natalie Wright, STV Appeal Campaign Manager, said: “Launch Foods is an example of a community project positively impacting children’s lives on a daily basis, helping to ensure the children they reach don’t go home hungry. Their dedication to feeding schoolchildren and providing them with training and opportunities epitomises what the STV Children’s Appeal is all about and we wish them the very best with their new coffee shop enterprise and ongoing commitment to Scotland’s children.”

Thanks to the generosity and fundraising efforts of people across the country, the STV Children’s Appeal raised £2.6million in 2019 that will help improve the life chances of Scotland’s vulnerable children and young people.

In nine years since launch the STV Children’s Appeal has raised over £21 million funding 1344 big and small awards for projects across all 32 local authority areas in Scotland, and providing much needed support to over 95,000 children and young people. The money raised is distributed to provide practical help like food and warm clothes, create opportunities for training and employability, and enable social and emotional support for those who need it most.

If you would like to help raise funds for Scotland’s children – as a group or an individual - please get in touch with Katie Little, katie.little@stv.tv.

For further information, please contact the STV press office:

Katie Martin 0141 300 3109 katie.martin@stv.tv

Anna Ireland 0141 300 3396 anna.ireland@stv.tv

ABOUT STV CHILDREN’S APPEAL

The STV Children’s Appeal is committed to helping children and young people affected by poverty in Scotland. The money raised by the STV Children’s Appeal helps make a real difference in the lives of Scotland’s children and young people by providing practical help like food and warm clothes; creating opportunities for training and employability; and enabling social and emotional support for those who need it most.

In nine years the Appeal has raised over £21 million. This has allowed us to make 1344 big and small awards for projects across all 32 local authority areas in Scotland, providing much needed support to over 95,000 children and young people.

The charity was launched in 2011 by The Hunter Foundation and STV. In 2013, The Wood Foundation pledged its support to the Appeal for projects in the North East.

Every single penny raised by the STV Children’s Appeal stays in Scotland and 100% of donations are spent on the children who need it most, as all overheads are met by STV and The Hunter Foundation. In 2017, the Scottish Government once again committed to match fund the first £1m raised.

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