A group set up by three young women to help feed hungry kids during the school holidays has snowballed into a massive effort delivering hundreds of food hampers across the Black Country and beyond.

Shannon Butler thought she might end up delivering 40 parcels to help feed children in the Dudley, Stourbridge, Halesowen area this half term.

Instead 4,400 people have become members of her Feed our Kids group, scores of pick up and delivery points have been set up, and between 50 and 80 parcels are going out every day thanks to volunteer drivers.

And now the group looks set to carry on and plans are already in hand to provide hampers for Christmas.

“I didn’t realise how many people needed food,” said a dazed Shannon Butler.

The 26-year-old from Netherton said she was prompted to do something by her two children, Codie, 3 and Kiah, 2, and the thought that the government’s decision not to offer free meals during the holidays was ‘spiting the kids.’

“It’s a shame. It’s not the children’s faults their parents cannot feed them.”

Alongside friends Kyra Scelding, from Lye, and Jessica Hackett, from Rowley Regis, they set up a Facebook page expecting a bit of support, but became overwhelmed at the response.

They now form a central admin team which has been joined by Phoebe Hickinbottom, Jodie Brain, Lauren Perkins, Rhi Perkins and Lauren Perkins.

“My original plan was to give the children a meal, to get them by for the week. But it’s really taken off.

“It is overwhelming how high the demand has been. And I don’t think it’s going to calm down.”

The group receive requests via an online form, and are getting more than 50 a day.

So far they have been coping thanks to donations of food, other necessities - like nappies - and money coming in from all over the Black Country and beyond.

A small admin team helps organize things, there are volunteers drivers, and people far and wide have agreed to be pick up or drop-off points.

They range from across the Dudley borough - in Lye, Stourbridge, Brierley Hill, Netherton, Halesowen, Rowley Regis, Pensnett, Kingswinford, and many others - to as far away as West Bromwich and Wolverhampton.

The group are currently working with local schools planning for Christmas and as word spreads Shannon was keen to say thank you to the admin team and all those volunteers who are keeping the operation going.

“I could not have coped on my own. I never envisaged this.”

For more details of the scheme and to fill in the online request form, go to: https://www.facebook.com/groups/373926450399162/?ref=share