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Children’s play charity turns food provider for hungry Glasgow families in lockdown

When lockdown hit the UK at the end of March, Glasgow children’s charity PEEK pulled out all the stops to help feed hungry families in some of the city’s most deprived areas.  

PEEK stands for Possibilities for Each and Every Kid. For almost twenty years, the charity has been helping children grow their self-confidence and wellbeing through a whole range of play-based activities. 

As well as being passionate about the benefits of play, CEO Michaela Collins is a firm believer that food and nutrition are hugely important in helping children thrive. “We look after the health and wellbeing of kids and food is part of that”, she explains. 

And PEEK Community Chef Charlie agrees: “We know that you can get kids well-fed and get them thinking about nutrition as well. It just impacts on everything they do.” 

So in March 2020 PEEK took delivery of a brand new catering van to bring to its outdoor sessions. The idea was for children to enjoy a tasty, nutritious meal while they played and learn about the benefits of healthy cooking at the same time. 

But then, lockdown was announced.  

A lifeline for struggling families

Suddenly, PEEK found itself at the centre of efforts to feed families that had been pitched into real hardship. 

“Schools were closed, and that meant that a lot of our kids weren’t getting that access to that free school meal. We were seeing phone calls and messages coming in from our families who were really struggling at that time”, remembers Michaela. “And so that’s where we had to kick into action.” 

The first day Charlie set up his makeshift kitchen in the van, he made nearly 90 meals for families desperate for help.  

But it soon became clear he would have to find a proper kitchen to cope with the demand. Somewhere he and his team could prepare up to 500 meals at a time. 

At the height of lockdown, PEEK was supporting around 250 families per day with hot meals, food parcels and fresh fruit and veg. As Charlie says: “That’s a lot of food. And a lot of good.”  

PEEK is just one of the charities supported by the public’s generous donations to BBC Children in Need. 2020 saw unprecedented demand for its services. But even in normal times, says Michaela, “there’s always a need and there’s always kids who need our help and support.’ 

As long as that need exists, PEEK will be there.


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