Kids are forced to “eat toilet paper” to stave off holiday hunger, according to a child poverty campaigner, demonstrating why urgent action is needed to feed children who miss out on free school meals over summer.
The Childhood Trust chief executive Laurence Guinness told The Daily Express that an eight-year-old boy had taken the drastic steps in a primary school he had worked at, saying: “It makes my tummy pain go away”.
The charity boss also spoke of how a 15-year-old boy was forced to sell drugs in exchange for food and how, in North London, kids aged just 12 were forced to scavenge bins to beat hunger.
“The fact children in a prosperous country like Britain cannot get enough to eat every day is shocking, and the empty promises made by politicians in this context obscene,” said Guinness.
“This is hidden Britain and sometimes it breaks your heart to see it.”
The heart-breaking tales of life on the breadline came as another charity, Meals and More, revealed that as many as four million children may now be at risk of holiday hunger, with parents who struggle to fill the gap left by the loss of free school meals.