'Help make a real difference' - Retailer teams up with food banks to tackle child hunger in Norfolk
PUBLISHED: 15:00 29 May 2018
The Co-op is partnering with food banks across Norfolk to tackle the issue of child hunger during the summer holidays.
The Summer Food Bank Appeal will run for three months, from June until August, and customers are asked to drop off one or more items – such as food and toiletries – to help children in need.
The scheme was launched after the retailer asked charities what they see as the biggest issue during the summer months and the response from more than 85pc of food banks was the rise in demand from families who do not have access to free school meals during the summer holidays.
The advocacy group End Child Poverty have highlighted the severity of the issue by noting that 46,282 children across Norfolk and Suffolk are at risk of falling into holiday hunger during 2018.
Anna Feuchtwang, chairman of the End Child Poverty coalition, said: “Holiday hunger, when children lose the lunch provided by school, is an urgent problem and a direct consequence of rising levels of child poverty across the UK.
“Food banks are now critical sources of support and without urgent action increasing numbers of families will be reliant on the generosity of the public to feed their children.”
The issue of holiday hunger is part of a larger problem in the UK where, according to the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG), nearly one in five UK children under the age of 15 currently suffer from food insecurity.
Martyn Cheatle, Central England Co-operative chief executive, said: “We are proud to be able to support our food banks all year round and in the past few months have helped collect over 85,000 items to help people in need.
“We wanted to ensure that this great support continued and, after speaking to our food bank partners, knew that helping to tackle holiday hunger was the right thing to do.
“This summer we are appealing to our customers and members to support our campaign and help youngsters in need and their families so they don’t have to go without during the holidays.
“All we are asking is that people drop off one or more items into our food banks this summer and help make a real difference.”
Central England Co-op has food bank collection points in stores all year. Items that can be donated include basic food productions along with essentials such as toiletries and hygiene products.