Helping relieve holiday hungerWednesday 7th August 2019
With school out for summer and the prospect of a sunny six weeks filled with ice lollies, paddling pools and long days exciting children across the country, it is sometimes easy to forget that for some families who are living in poverty, this time will be overshadowed by worry.
‘Holiday hunger’ is an issue which is growing around England and Wales. Families who may rely on their children receiving free school meals during term time must face the struggle of meeting the costs of feeding them during the holidays.
The Diocese of Salford has links with the Greater Manchester Food Poverty Alliance, which was launched in October 2018 to bring together the work of groups already on the ground and expand on the role of the public sector to tackle some of the issues around food poverty.
The Alliance reported on how important it is for food support, which is primarily provided by community and faith groups, to be present in communities facing poverty. Food support includes food banks, food clubs (also known as food pantries, which are membership schemes that provide a certain number of weekly food items for members) and cooked meals.
Across our Diocese, Catholic communities are getting involved in initiatives to help hungry children.
The Manchester Universities’ Catholic Chaplaincy were responsible for setting up and running the Manchester Central Foodbank, which is next to Holy Name church within the heart of Manchester’s student quarter. Run by volunteers from each of the three universities, the foodbank has helped thousands of people in our local community.
St Joseph’s RC Primary School in Longsight is another Catholic community helping families, this time by partnering with food redistribution service, That Bread and Butter Thing.
Weekly, including during the school holidays, a van which is full of donated food visits, helping families to access good quality, healthy food for less.
Not only has this partnership allowed the school community to actively support its families and tackle the issue of hunger, but children have been able to immerse themselves in the project and learn about sustainability and food waste as they help to pack the food.