Fourfold spike in free meals for children over school holidays
Charities have provided four times as many meals to hungry children during this school holidays than last year.
The food distribution charity Fareshare has reported a fourfold spike in Lancashire in just one year.
This summer, it has provided 2,435 meals every week to schoolchildren who would otherwise go hungry during the holidays.
In Preston alone, 4,784 meals have been provided since schools broke up, and it is anticipated that this will rise to 5,700 by the time schools go back in September.
Last year saw FareShare Lancashire and Cumbria redistribute surplus food to three groups providing provision between them to 930 children each week over the school holidays.
But following a recruitment drive, the number of holiday programmes regular food deliveries this summer has increased fivefold, to 15 across Lancashire and beyond.
Programmes receiving food also provide activities including sport, drama and cooking lessons, to ensure children are well fed, active and learning - ready to return to school happy and healthy.
Jeff Green, Manager at FareShare Lancashire and Cumbria – which is based at Red Scar and run by social business, Recycling Lives – said: “For parents of children who normally receive free school meals, the summer can be a difficult time to make ends meet – with the strain of added food costs, activities and childcare meaning many families can struggle to provide food.
“ActiveAte is our campaign to address this issue, and this year’s figures across Lancashire and Cumbria, particularly in comparison to 2017, demonstrate the glaring need for food provision in our communities.”