Speak out about holiday hunger
End Hunger aims to ensure children have access to nutritious food 365 days a year. We believe children deserve the best start in life. Childhood hunger shouldn’t be allowed to have a damaging impact on their health, attainment and opportunity. Lack of adequate nutrition impacts children’s development and ability to take part in education. End Hunger campaigns for government to support increased uptake of Healthy Start vouchers for new mothers, and calls for them to be uprated with inflation. We also campaign on the issue of holiday hunger.
Holiday hunger pushes many families into food poverty and insecurity. While many children from low-income families are entitled to free school meals during term time, there is currently no such provision during holidays. Local voluntary sector organisations ‘fill the gap’ in some places but this is far from universal.
A recent report by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Hunger found that children were returning to school in a worse educational, health and developmental state than that in which they had left in the summer. That report found that as many as three million children face the risk of food insecurity this summer.
In Wales, the Assembly Government has taken action to ensure that all local authorities make provision for those at risk of food poverty as part of a national ‘Food and Fun’ programme. Similarly in London, the Mayor’s Fund has launched a ‘Kitchen Social’ project this year which helps children during the holidays who would be entitled to free school meals.
We believe that the Westminster government needs to follow where devolved governments have led. We believe the government should take responsibility for ensuring that children have access to nutritious food on the 170 days a year when they are not in school, particularly over long holiday periods.
You can help tackle holiday hunger by raising awareness and speaking to your MP – especially if you run a project that helps people affected by the issue. Our campaign pack will tell you how. We also have template letters to help you contact your MP and local newspaper.