A charity set up to help the victims of flooding in Pakistan is now offering hot meals to deprived families in Bradford.
It has taken action after it found needy children are going to sleep hungry and are being sent to school without breakfast.
Councillor Naveeda Ikram, co-chairman of Bradford Unites In Disaster, said the stories she was hearing were “heartbreaking”.
She said: “I am talking to people on the ground and people are struggling. The cost of living is going up every day and people are finding it extremely hard. We’ve heard about children going to sleep without having a proper meal.
“We are talking to teachers and they are telling us children are coming out without breakfast. It is heartbreaking.”
Bradford Unites In Disaster has now teamed up with the Karmand Community Centre in Barkerend Road, Bradford, to set up the Karmand Kitchen, which will open once a week to offer free hot meals to the area’s most deprived individuals and families.
Project bosses say anyone is welcome, whether they live on the streets or not, as no-one should have to go to bed hungry.
Coun Ikram (Lab, Little Horton), a former Lord Mayor of Bradford, said Bradford Unites In Disaster had originally been set up in response to floods in Pakistan in 2010, but they now felt aid also needed to be handed out locally.
She said: “Now we see that help is needed at home as well so we thought now we would channel our energy and focus here, as we see the rate of homelessness grow and the demand for a warm meal increase.”
The kitchen will run from the Karmand Community Centre each Wednesday from 6pm to 8pm. Coun Ikram said they had deliberately chosen Wednesdays to avoid a clash with existing foodbanks and soup kitchens which operated on other days.
The project will rely on donations of food and cash from local people and businesses, and donations are already coming in.
Mohammed Shakeel, chairman of Bradford Unites In Disaster, said: “Bradford people are caring and known for their generosity and I know they’ll come together to make this project a success.”
The Karmand Kitchen opened for the first time this week but is looking for more volunteers to help out.
For more information on volunteering or donating to the project, phone Mr Shakeel on (01274) 669593 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.