The aim is to produce and distribute approximately 1,000 free meals a day, for a 6-week period, to the children of families who need it the most in Teesside. Working in partnership with Middlesbrough FC Foundation, Applebridge Family have donated £40,000.00 to the event with the aim of covering the cost of purchasing food, packaging and transport to ensure a quality daily meal will reach those who require it the most.

The meals will be prepared daily at the Riverside and transported to nominated local distribution hubs, a process that will continue every weekday commencing today, Wednesday July 22, through to Friday August 28.

Applebridge are providing the food and chefs from MFC will be volunteering their time for Applebridge to cook the food in the kitchens of the Riverside Stadium, provided in-kind by Middlesbrough Football Club.

“We at the Applebridge Family were inspired by the fantastic work carried out by Marcus Rashford in successfully lobbying the government to provide 1.3-million free school meals for children over the summer holidays,” says Chris Brown, Applebridge Manager Director.

“Following a conversation between our CEO Donny Hughes and Billy Lamb, Director of Retaining UK, it was decided that the Applebridge Family would play our part, however small that may be. We hope the contribution made by ourselves and MFC Foundation provide some comfort to the families who struggle the most during the summer school holidays.”

Mr Brown continues: “We would like to thank MFC Foundation for providing the facilities of the Riverside Stadium to prepare the food, the chefs and their assistants who have volunteered their time completely free of charge and who will play a key role in preparing what will be nearly 30,000 meals across a 6-week period, and the volunteers from the Foundation and the Applebridge family who are distributing the meals from hubs in Middlesbrough.

“In addition, we would like to thank Leaders Paper Merchants, QFS Food, Wolley Bros North East and Quorn Foods for the support they have provided.”

Head of MFC Foundation Helena Bowman commented: “This is a fantastic gesture from the Applebridge family. We’re combining their logistics with our expertise to make a positive difference to so many in our communities.

“I would like to place on record my thanks for this tremendous commitment from people who are clearly likeminded. They want to help.

“Thank you also to the club (Middlesbrough FC) for the use of their kitchens and to the chefs and volunteers from both organisations who will make this happen. Also to Middlesbrough Council, who do great work with primary schools in the town centre to help make sure meals get to families who need them most.

“We’re humbled that the Applebridge Family have recognised the work we do throughout our communities and have chosen us to work with through the summer.”