Cafe owner making hundreds of packed lunches for Leeds children going hungry during school closures

A cafe owner will be making more than a hundred packed lunches for children in Leeds who are at risk of going hungry due to school closures.

Tuesday, 14th April 2020, 5:00 pm

Rosita Rogers, the owner of House of Koko at Chapel Allerton, came up with the idea after hearing from teacher friends who were concerned about youngsters who usually relied on school breakfast clubs and dinners for nutritious meals while schools were closed due to the coronovirus lockdown.

She has teamed up with Neil's Fruit and Veg stall in Kirkgate Market, who is donating the bread, and she is buying fruit, jam and cooked meats from him for the fillings.

The first school to benefit will be Bracken Edge, between Harehills and Chapeltown, and they will be collecting 130 packed lunches of sandwiches, fruit and crisps to hand out to its children on Thursday morning from the school premises.

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House of Koko at Chapel Allerton.

Next week the school being helped out will be Bankside Primary at Harehills and Ms Rogers, who also owns Distrikt Bar in Leeds city centre, has set up a fundraising page so she can buy ingredients to make packed lunches for a different school each week for the duration that the lockdown and restriction measures affecting schools are in place.

She said: "I closed the cafe but was going a bit stir crazy so started opening Friday, Saturday and Sunday for collection or delivery to people in isolation. When I heard about the schools I said 'right, let's do that. I have three days a week spare, let's make food'.

"I got in touch with Bracken Edge they were so happy to hear this, I have never heard anyone sound so happy. They said they would collect this Thursday."

If the first sandwich making run goes well, it is hoped that there is capacity to make more and help more than one school per week and already more than £650 has been donated the cause within a few hours.

She added: "It is the schools in the under-privileged areas like Harehills and Chapeltown for now. We are not stuck to those areas but we will go to these first and where we can after that."

Donations to the House of Koko project, called Feeding the Kids can be made via www.gofundme.com/f/q2d7y-feeding-the-kids