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Update May 2019: A recent article in Hackney Citizen said that Foodbank use in Hackney in the year to March 2019 was 44 per cent higher than the previous year.
Most of us look forward to the holidays – a time to rest and take a break from the stresses of daily life. But for families living in poverty, holiday periods can be a time of extra hardship. Providing food for children during school holidays is estimated to cost families £30-£40 a week.
Without free school meals and breakfast clubs for the next two weeks, many children will go hungry.
The Trussell Trust, which coordinates a lot of the UK’s food banks, says food bank use spikes in the school holidays. It estimates that 3 million children are at risk of hunger in the holidays. Alongside the 1 million who receive free school meals, this includes another 2 million whose carers are working in jobs that don’t pay enough to feed their families.
And food bank use is increasing generally. The Trussell Trust’s food banks provided 1.3 million emergency food supplies to people in crisis last year – a 13% increase on the year before. The five-week wait for Universal Credit payments is causing another rise in referrals.
A fresh response
Most of the food distributed through food banks is packaged, non-perishable items that are easy to handle, store and distribute. But the Hackney foodbank has the capacity to distribute fresh food, as well as users who put fresh produce high on their wish-list.
In the past GC has delivered complete packed bags of fruit and veg to Hackney foodbank centres – like the ones we deliver to you. The foodbank has now asked us to take sacks of fresh, organic staple veg (such as potatoes, carrots and onions) to the centres, so they can distribute them to those most in need. So that’s what we’ll be doing in future.
Thanks to all those of you who have donated your bag value already since we started our Food Credit Scheme in December.
If you’re booking a break from the veg scheme over Easter, the school summer holidays (July to early September) or any other time, please consider donating some of your bags instead of booking holiday. If you've already booked holidays, you can cancel those (by unticking the box on the form) and choose to donate your bag value instead.
We’ll make sure that fresh food goes to the people who need it most, including some of the 26,000 children in Hackney who are living in poverty.