THE team behind Helensburgh's food bank says the extension of a 'lunch box' scheme to cover the forthcoming school summer holidays is an "essential" step to tackle child hunger in the area.

A trial scheme held during local schools' Easter break in April proved so successful that the project is now to be continued over a five-week period during July and early August.

The project aims to support families struggling to provide children eligible for free school meals during term-time with nutritious food during holiday periods.

The extension of the scheme to the summer holidays has been made possible with the help of a £1,500 donation from the Helensburgh and District Round Table.

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The money represents part of the proceeds from the hugely successful Helensburgh Beer and Gin Festival, organised by the group, which was held in the town in May.

Julie Ward, food bank committee member, said: “We would like to say an enormous thank you to Helensburgh and District Round Table for their fantastic donation.

“This money will be used towards supporting our summer holiday lunch box project.

“The need for holiday lunches for school age children within Helensburgh and Lomond is continuing to grow and is essential for children's health and wellbeing.

“Without support from groups such as The Round Table we could not manage to offer such a provision.”

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The food bank has also issued an appeal for donations of specific food items to help fill the lunch boxes.

The group is in particular need of packets of flavoured rice, noodles, pasta in sauce, tins (not jars) of hot god, tins of spaghetti bolognese, small tins of baked beans, spaghetti hoops and macaroni cheese, and tins of sardines, tuna and meatballs.

Lunch boxes can be collected from Helensburgh Scout Hall, 15 John Street, every Monday in July and the first Monday in August, between 1pm and 3pm.

For school age children in the Rosneath peninsula area, lunch boxes can be collected from Rosneath Library, Clachan Road, on the same dates between 1-2pm.

Anyone wishing to collect a lunch box should contact the food bank beforehand to inform them which centre they will be attending, how many school age children they will collecting for and on what dates they will be picking up their meals.

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Each eligible child will receive one meal per day covering Monday to Friday.

If you would like to receive a holiday lunch box, email by Friday, June 21 at the latest.

The Advertiser revealed last month that the food bank is searching for a new home in Helensburgh after the British Red Cross announced its centre in East Princes Street is to close at the end of the year.

Community groups which use the hall are considering their options and a petition is now being set up to try and save the facility.

READ MORE: Race against time to save Helensburgh food bank as Red Cross confirms closure plan

Margaret Horrell, who volunteers at the weekly book sale held at the hall, said: “Many of the 'old-timers' who have donated their services to the Red Cross over 47 years say they are appalled at the proposed closure.

“The local Red Cross members initiated the setting up of the lunch club which has been serving our OAPs lunches three days a week in the United Reformed Church.

“The town has much to thank those selfless ladies and volunteers for.

“I am proposing to start a local petition to the Red Cross to halt the closure entirely, or, failing that, to attempt a local buyout, but personally I do not have the steam to face that particular effort.

“I would hope that some forceful person could front that."

More information about the petition is available at the book sales held at the hall every Wednesday from 10am to 3.30pm.

Helensburgh and District Round Table urgently need more volunteers to help them continue with their fundraising activities which support local organisations and groups in the area.

To find out more, email or check the Facebook page @HelensburghRoundTable.