FareShare, the UK’s largest food redistribution charity, has revealed it is helping to feed at least 50,000 children across the UK each week this school summer holiday – an increase of 150 percent from 2017.
The stark rise follows the charity’s launch of ActiveAte, a nationwide campaign to raise awareness of holiday hunger and increase its provision of meals for children at risk of food poverty this summer.
Last year saw FareShare redistribute surplus food to 200 charities and groups providing provision to children over the school holidays – but following a recruitment drive more than 350 holiday programmes across the UK have now signed up to receive regular food deliveries.
With an estimated three million children nationwide at risk of going hungry over the school holidays , the ActiveAte campaign is appealing to the public for donations during this time of increased activity. For as little as £20, donors can enable FareShare provide 80 nutritious meals for a holiday project.
FareShare Chief Executive Lindsay Boswell said: “For parents of children who normally receive free school meals, the summer can be a difficult time – with the strain of added food costs, activities and childcare meaning families can often struggle to provide food.
“ActiveAte is our nationwide programme to address this issue, and this year’s figures in comparison to 2017 demonstrate the glaring need for food provision in our communities across the UK.
“Even more alarming, support provided through FareShare Go, our scheme which brings together charities and retailers to reduce in-store surplus food, increases the total number of beneficiaries receiving food each week to over 160,000 children – and over 1,000 holiday projects nationwide.
“With the support of our food partners, we are grateful to be able to support more frontline programmes than any summer before. But in order to ensure no child goes hungry this holiday, we are appealing both to the food industry for an increased provision of child-friendly nutritious food for redistribution, as well as to the public for donations. Just £7 can have a real, tangible impact, providing 28 meals for children at a holiday project.”
Through ActiveAte, FareShare ensures it supports projects which not only provide food but also activities such as sport or drama. In doing so, children enjoy their summer holidays on a full stomach, but are also kept active and develop their skills, able to return to school in September healthy and ready to learn.
Organisations working in some of the country’s most deprived areas – such as Cauis House in Battersea, London – are receiving food regularly from FareShare’s 21 Regional Centres.
Perry Star, manager at Cauis House – a youth club which scales up its provision over the summer holidays to meet the extra demand – said: “Although we support children throughout the year, we know that the summer holidays can be a particularly difficult time, so to have FareShare provide food is a vital resource. Each week we receive fruit and vegetables which are used to feed children but also develop their skills in cooking. Many parents often struggle to provide healthy meals due to time or cost constraints, and through this food we’re able to ensure children are well fed with a nutritious diet – without this support it is likely some would be at risk of malnutrition.”
To find out more and donate to FareShare’s ActiveAte campaign, visit fareshare.org.uk/ActiveAte