Kind-Hearted Butcher Gave Struggling Families Free Meat Over Half-Term

David Jones handed out meat parcels to roughly 20 families during the school holidays last week.
HuffPost: HumanKind
HuffPost UK
HuffPost: HumanKind

Not wanting to see parents struggle over the half-term holiday, a kind-hearted butcher from Barnsley discreetly offered free meat parcels to those in need.

David Jones has been running D Jones Quality Butchers for eight years and, more recently, has seen the impact of Universal Credit on local families, as well parents struggling to make ends meet.

Heartbroken by the situation, he decided to offer his own food bank service, of sorts, from his shop in Earlsheaton. Ahead of the half-term holiday, Jones wrote on Facebook: “If there are any families who are in difficulties financially and are close to my shop, who are going to struggle to have meals during the holidays, please DM I will provide some meals for you.” The status was shared 250 times.

Among the 20-odd recipients was a single mum with three young children. They had just been moved onto Universal Credit and were awaiting a payment. “She was finding it really hard,” the 53-year-old butcher tells HuffPost UK.

“It’s torture. I’m a firm believer in social justice. I’m also a firm believer that we’re a very rich country and we’ve got an unfair political system where billionaires are receiving the tax cuts and the working people, vulnerable and sick are bearing the brunt of that.”

D Jones Quality Butcher
David Jones
D Jones Quality Butcher

Kindness is clearly in the butcher’s DNA. Last Christmas, he gave free meat, fruit and vegetable hampers to 30 struggling families waiting for Universal Credit payments. And in September, he offered Thomas Cook employees free steaks following the firm’s closure.

Jones was inspired to help families during October half-term after noticing many struggling in the summer holidays. And it’s no coincidence; the UK’s largest food bank provider, the Trussell Trust, gave out 87,496 food parcels during the summer holidays in 2018 – a 20% jump from the same period in 2017.

This is often because families entitled to free school meals during term-time face additional financial pressure in the holidays. “I was worried about the holiday poverty,” says Jones. “It’s very difficult out there. I just wanted to reach out and help those people.”

Throughout half-term, Jones prepared bundles containing beef mince, chicken and burgers for families who reached out to him on Facebook messenger. Families with one or two kids would receive about £15-20 worth of meat, he says, and those with three or four children would receive about £30′s worth.

Once people contacted him, he got in touch with them to chat through their circumstances. He then prepared their meat bundles and left them in the shop’s fridge with a note on them that said “paid”. The families could collect the parcels like any other customer.

It was important for Jones to keep the service discreet, “so nobody was coming in asking” for food. “Just about nearly everyone thanked us and sent a message back saying they really appreciate it,” he says. “They always do.”

Recipients included people waiting for Universal Credit payments, working families and, to his surprise, older people who were just short of retirement age and had found themselves on benefits while waiting for their pensions to kick in.

The butcher has received plenty of praise from the local community for his act of kindness. Kelly Teske wrote on Facebook: “You have a heart of gold Dave.”

Christine Carver reflected on another time the butcher had gone above and beyond. “I can remember being in your shop near Christmas time and one of your elderly customers couldn’t cook a turkey for whatever reason – you offered to come in early Christmas Day and cook it for her, in your shop!

“You are always doing good for others,” she added.