Holidays

Demand for food banks soar during school holidays

A volunteer at Wandsworth foodbank prepares food parcels for guests from their stores of donated food, toiletries and other items on May 5, 2017 in London (Picture: Getty)

More than a third of food bank donations are given to children.

Research by a network of food banks in the UK has found that more than one third of food distributed goes to needy children.

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School-age children between five and 11-years-old are most likely to require emergency food parcels, especially when term time comes to an end during the summer months.

A startling 67,506 three-day emergency food supplies were given to children between July and August by Trussell Trust food banks last year, 4,412 more than the term-time months of May and June 2016.

The growing demand for meals during the school holidays shows just how many families are living close to crisis and food poverty, says the trust, who called for government action to tackle the issue.

Demand for food banks soar during school holidays
Guests pack items at Wandsworth foodbank from their parcels of donated food, toiletries and other items on May 5, 2017 in London Picture: Getty)

Samantha Stapley, Operations Manager for England at The Trussell Trust, said: ‘Over a third of all the food distributed by foodbanks in our network consistently goes to children, but these new figures show 5 to 11 year-olds are more likely than other children to receive a foodbank’s help.

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‘This highlights just how close to crisis many families are living.

‘We can all make a difference – checking which food your local foodbank is running low on and donating to make sure emergency food is available when people are referred to help is a simple and effective way to get involved. You could be helping a family that lives on your street.’

Ms Stapley added: ‘As a nation we also must address the reasons why families with children are referred to foodbanks in the first place. We welcome the Government’s decision to maintain free school lunches for children during term time – the next step must be to help families during the holidays.

Demand for food banks soar during school holidays
The demand for food banks increases during the summer holidays (Picture: Getty)

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‘Foodbanks are doing more than ever before but voluntary organisations alone cannot stop primary school children facing hunger. We are keen to share our insights with the new Government alongside other charities to inform a long-term coordinated solution to stop families falling into crisis.’

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A breakdown of the research shows that 27% of Trussell trust emergency food parcels went to 0-4 year olds, 47% went to 5-11 year olds, 21% went to 12-16 year olds and a further 5% went to families with children whose ages were not known.

If you would like to donate to your local food bank, click here to find out to help.

Or, if you require emergency food supply, click here to find out how to go about it.

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