The Trussell Trust have revealed that they felt the pressure of holiday hunger last summer with 74,000 emergency food packages heading to children.
The national foodbank charity gave out 204,525 three-day supplies between July and August last year with 74,011 heading to children. By comparison, May and June saw only 70,510 packages supplied to kids.
#Foodbanks & other charities will be providing vital support to families struggling this summer, but no charity can replace people having enough money for the basics. Read here about the changes we need to see so families are protected all year round > https://t.co/rrjWtlXPCc pic.twitter.com/iSwRE83onB
— The Trussell Trust (@TrussellTrust) August 3, 2018
Holiday hunger is the result of a perfect storm of declining donations as people jet off for summer breaks and increased demands as children are at home and not receiving free school meals.
Over a third of all food distributed by the 42-strong foodbank network goes to children. The difference that makes was outlined in a report by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Hunger last year that estimated holiday hunger costs £30-£40 per week to their outgoings for one child.
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Last year, the tonnes of food dished out was more than the donations coming in and that has triggered The Trussell Trust to urge the public to speak to their local foodbank to help plug shortages.
But long-term there must be better support in place to tackle hunger, explains Samantha Stapley, director of operations at The Trussell Trust, in the form of unfreezing child benefits and tweaks to Universal Credit work allowances.
Acute income crises are often what drive people to food banks. Our report last year concluded that "relatively simple changes – to the operation of the social security system in particular – could make a huge difference, and help to drive down food bank use". https://t.co/817RpUBVGD
— Child Poverty Action (@CPAGUK) August 1, 2018
“Foodbanks cannot, and must not, be a long term to solution to hunger at any time of year,” she said. “No one should face going hungry, and although our network will be doing all they can this summer to help families struggling to make the money they have stretch to cover the essentials, no charity can replace people having enough money for the basics.
“There are changes we can make as a nation to help during the holidays, but if we are to protect each other from hunger whatever the time of year, we have to go further than that. We know particular groups of people are most likely to need a foodbank, so let’s make sure no one is swept into destitution. Our benefits system can, and must, act as an anchor to protect people from being pulled into poverty.”