Food for Families: A Lifeline for Calderdale’s Struggling Families.

Food for Families are to put it simply local Calderdale heroes and to those they support - a lifeline.

Established at the start of 2023 by Lesley Maslen, Food for Families provides families and single parents struggling with the rising price of food in the Lower Valley with a nutritional home-cooked meal once a week and a well-packed food parcel to support them through the week.

For one day a week, families don’t have to worry about their finances to eat or whether they can afford to switch the oven on because Lesley and the team have their back.

VAC and VSI Alliance Community Journalist Jordan, volunteered with the group on Monday 15th April, to help prepare a delicious pasta bolognese and pack food parcels which were then delivered to primary schools in Elland, Greetland, West Vale and Stainland.

The day was filled with conversation about the cost-of-living crisis and how this is affecting working-class families, on the day we supported a total of 35 families consisting of 52 adults and 94 children.

Although the inflation rate on food is improving compared to previous months – prices remain high.

Families are generating income, however, the impact of rising interest rates, energy costs and food prices over the past few years has left many with the hard decision to heat or eat.

In a recent data set released by the Office for National Statistics (27th March to April 7th 2024 edition), 90% of adults in Great Britain say the price of their food shop has increased over the last month.

There are many instances where families across the UK earn just above the thresholds for government support, leaving them to struggle significantly.

Lesley, Jeanette and the team of 20 volunteers are conscious of this and realise the reality some face.

One meal may not seem like a lot, however, for those who are truly in the grips of the cost of living crisis, one meal a week can and does make the world of difference.

The food parcels are packed with kitchen essentials – items such as bread, cereals, fruit and vegetables are given to take off the pressure during the rest of the week.

And of course, families with children were also given Easter eggs over the holiday period which were kindly donated by local supermarkets to ensure no child misses out on the joy and fun that Easter brings.

Food for Families prides itself on being ‘Zero Heroes’, mainly using surplus food from supermarkets, bakeries and food retail outlets to prevent wasting good food that could end up in landfill sites.

There may be a best-before date on some food but the majority of this food is still safe for consumption after this date. It is estimated that 6.4 million tonnes (67%) of wasted food could have been eaten[1].

One of the leading causes of surplus food in the UK is overproduction, meaning manufacturers are often overestimating the amount of food needed, which leads to this being unsold.

The group feeds around 200 people each week across their weekly hot meals, lunch club, food parcels and dedicated table at Project Colt in Elland, where food items are available for those in need.

Food for Families will soon be making the move to Project Colt to help cope with their increasing demand where the team will be hosting cooking classes in their brand-new community kitchen for members of the public, and also a new space to prepare and cook their weekly meals.

You can also watch the first video in their new YouTube series ‘Let’s Cook!’ where volunteers give quick and easy tutorials for making low-cost meals.

If you or your family are struggling with the cost of living in Calderdale, please visit for more information and support.

You can also follow the VSI Alliance Cost of Living social media:

If you are interested in support from Food for Families, you can visit their website here:

Do you or your organisation have inspiring stories that need to be heard? If so, the Community Journalist is eager to listen and share your stories!

Contact Jordan at