Join the fight against holiday hunger
What did school holidays mean for you growing up?
For me, they bring back memories of fun, freedom and time with my family. I was very fortunate.
Sadly for some children in this country, the school holidays are very different. For them, it means boredom and hunger. In the UK over 1 million children rely on Free School Meals as their main meal and in extreme cases only meal of the day. When schools stop for the holidays, so does the food and these children are left going hungry. It’s a bleak picture in London where over half a million children struggle for food during the school holidaysi. It’s not just the children who are affected as almost a third of parents on lower incomes have skipped a meal so that their children could eat during the school holidaysii.
So what can be done about this?
My name is Megan and I am the London Network Development Coordinator for a charity called MakeLunch. We are passionate about working towards filling this holiday hunger gap. We partner with churches and communities to help feed hungry children in the holidays. Thanks to the help of volunteers our Lunch Kitchens provide a hot healthy meal and some great activities. We want children to look forward to their school holidays, not dread them.
We have seen some amazing changes in people’s lives as a result of this provision.
A single mother Aida who lives with her daughter was unable to work due to ill health and the demands of raising a child on her own. Money was very tight and Aida could only afford to buy food for her daughter and was filling her own stomach with boiling water and lemon. Life was about survival and there was no money for trips or treats. She felt that her predicament robbed her daughter of the freedoms enjoyed by many of her peers during holidays. Things changed when they were referred to a Lunch Kitchen running on their estate where they joined other families for a hot meal during the holidays. There were activities for the children and a chance for parents to speak. The Lunch Kitchen took the pressure off and Aida described it as a lifeline. Since then they have become an active part of the church community and Aida has found work as well as volunteering at the Lunch Kitchen in the holidays. Aida says: “MakeLunch saved my life. I have been given a second chance to be a mum.” Aida’s story is just one of many families’ experience of MakeLunch over the past 5 years.
Across London there are children going hungry every holiday and we need churches that will partner with us to fight against holiday hunger. This can be done by launching a kitchen in your community. Partnering with us means that you can benefit from our years of experience, support, advice, training and much more.
Join the fight against holiday hunger by getting in touch today. t. 07593 325924
_i Beyond the Food Bank, London Food Poverty Profile 2015, Sustain www.sustainweb.org/publications/london_food_poverty_profile_2015 _ii Kellogg’s Isolation and Hunger: the reality of the school holidays for struggling families 2015