Holiday hunger starts when school terms end, when families who usually get a free meal at school are faced with food insecurity. Norwich FoodHub have partnered with Unite the Union Norwich since 2018 to put on community lunches during the school holidays so that food which would normally be thrown out by supermarkets is feeding bellies and not bins!
The rise in the use of food banks during the school holidays shows the real difficulty for families across the UK to provide enough meals during this time. As of 2017, it was estimated that at least three million children across the country are forced into food poverty during the holidays (APPG on Hunger). This year in Norwich, the situation was worse than previous years.
As we look back at the summer holidays and forward to October half term, we spoke to one of the project leaders of the community lunches, Brian Green, to find out more about how this summer was. Brain said, “This year the desperation was greater than last year.” Between 80-120 parents and children came each day to get a free lunch. By the end of the summer, the group had given out over 2,000 meals - an amazing achievement, but one which shouldn’t be necessary.
Brian told us that, “This year, because of our consistency, we bonded with the families and they confided in us. The main story line was that they had avoided going hungry themselves over the holidays because of these lunches and the bags of leftover produce."
Norwich FoodHub are proud to support this initiative during the school holidays; but we are in need of volunteers to collect the surplus food from supermarkets to make it possible. Could you help us in the fight to end food waste and food poverty? It’s easy to sign up today (before the next October school holiday) and make a difference! Just follow this link: https://10to8.com/book/norwichfoodhub/
Images by Peter Smith, from http://unitelive.org/unite-community-holiday-hunger-norwich/