A plea has been issued to shoppers to continue to support a food bank appeal aimed at making sure children do not go hungry this summer after providers reveal an unprecedented rise in demand for help - despite enough food for over 14,000 meals already being donated by generous shoppers in Yorkshire.
Central England Co-op marked the halfway point of its 12-week Summer Food Bank Appeal by revealing that over 50,000 items have been handed over by kind-hearted customers at special collection points in Food Stores.
However, food bank providers are now urging people to keep on donating one or more items – ranging from food to toiletries – as an major rise in demand has resulted in some coming close to running out on food and being unable to help children at risk of going hungry.
Martyn Cheatle, Central England Co-operative Chief Executive, said: “We are so proud of the generosity of our customers who have donated enough food to help over 14,000 children in just a matter of weeks.
“However our food bank partners are now telling us that, even with the increased levels of donations, some are close to running out of vital items so we still need people to back our campaign.
“All of us here at Central England Co-operative want to urge customers and members to continue to support our Summer Food Bank Appeal and make sure that children do not go hungry during the holidays.”
Items that can be donated include shopping basket staples from tea, sugar and cereals to other essentials such as toiletries and hygiene products
The items will then be used to create either bigger food parcels for families with children or to provide special packed lunches for projects that tackle holiday hunger during the summertime.
Holiday hunger revolves around a rise in demand from families who see the safety net of free school meals removed during the summer holidays.
This often leaves people trying to stretch their budgets in order to eat and in some cases going without proper food during the holidays.
In Yorkshire, figures from End Child Poverty revealed that 50,002 children were 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.”
A film has been produced to showcase the importance of supporting food banks this summer. It can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4OYW4yzQnk
A full list of the stores taking part in the appeal can be found by visiting www.centralengland.coop/summer