A school breakfast club in Huddersfield made headline news this week.
It seemed a lot of fuss about nothing; a bout of positive PR for the football club generously stumping up to cover the cost.
South Yorkshire schools have been running such clubs for years. They make loads of sense. Parents who work can get their kids in school a bit earlier and be on their way. And families on tight budgets can ensure their children get a decent morning meal.
There are 820,000 children in classrooms across Britain who are forced to skip breakfast at least once a week. Worrying enough, but the club in Huddersfield has discovered it is feeding a real hunger.
Its kids have not just missed breakfast at home that morning - they missed their tea the night before. The school says three children out of ten haven’t eaten since their school lunch. How shocking is that? Kids in Britain, living off one meal a day.
Last year cereal brand Kelloggs discovered one in seven children were arriving at school having not eaten breakfast. Teachers have spoken of being so worried some of their pupils were suffering from malnutrition, they were buying them food. Clearly, like a gnawing hunger in the pit of a child’s stomach, the problem is getting worse.
Times are hard; food banks are booming. But I do not believe this is only down to poverty’s bite. It’s about child abuse.
Loving, caring parents feed their kids come what may. They put the needs of their children above everything. Most of all themselves. Meals have to be ultra cheap and ultra filling but these parents are damned proud of the fact that they make it happen.
Breakfast clubs? Great. But they deal with the result, not the problem. Social workers need to be finding out what the hell is happening in the three out of ten homes where children do not get fed.