L-R: Keith Ranu, Cllr Ramesh Srivastava, Rugby MP Mark Pawsey & Sonia Johns, Chair of the Benn Partnership Centre
Rugby’s Benn Partnership Centre will once again be providing Christmas dinners to some of Rugby’s most vulnerable residents – although this year will be a takeaway service rather than their usual sit-down dinner.
Due to the impact of coronavirus, Sonia Johns and the team at the Benn Partnership Centre have expanded their normal offer of a meal to not only those who would have nowhere else to go, but also to families receiving free school meals, as well as providing a meal to those working at the Hospital of St Cross on Christmas day. In total, the Benn Partnership Centre will be providing around 350 meals to people right across Rugby and the surrounding villages.
Rugby MP Mark Pawsey got in touch with catering supplier Bunzl, who in previous years have provided napkins and crackers for the meal to ask if they could this year donate food containers to transport the food to those in need, which Bunzl were happily able to provide. Along with a traditional turkey meal, which is being cooked by Cllr Belinda Garcia and her husband Paco, former landlords of the Bell in Monks Kirby, Sonia and the team are also providing over 300 selection boxes. Donations have also been provided by the Red Lion in Hillmorton, McDonalds on Leicester Road, Mitchell Potatoes, Tesco, ASDA and the Midland Langar Seva Society, alongside funding from Cemex and the Heart of England. Food safety information, which will be included with the meals, has been prepared by Rugby Borough Council.
Speaking after delivering Bunzl’s generous donation, Mark said:
“This year has been one in which community spirit has been more important than ever, which is why I was delighted to learn that the Benn Partnership Centre would not be letting Covid stop them from supporting Rugby residents this Christmas. It was great to hear from Sonia and her team about how they have come up with solutions to the challenges of not being able to do their traditional Christmas meal this year and I want to also thank Bunzl for once again being able to support this great initiative.”
Sonia Johns, Chairperson of the Benn Partnership Centre added:
“2020 has been a very difficult and challenging year for every person I know. Frustrations have been running high at these uncertain times, so we wanted to be able to spread a little bit of joy and happiness to ease the stress. This year we have opened our invitation for Christmas dinners so if anybody was in need then we could help. None of this would be possible without our brilliant volunteers and donations from within our community. It really shows how when a community rallies together anything can be accomplished.”