Will you be in food poverty this summer?
Are you looking forward to the summer holidays (or enjoying them already if you are in Scotland or Northern Ireland)? If you’re a working parent you might be wondering how to juggle (and pay for) childcare. If you’re not a parent, you’re probably well-rested from your holiday taken when prices weren’t astronomical and looking forward to a leisurely drive to work without all the school run traffic.
But what if you are just about making ends meet? New research by foodbank charities the Trussell Trust and FareShare showed that 70% of parents whose children receive free school meals will be pushed into food poverty over the summer, without the state support they normally get to help feed their family. Even those not in receipt of free school meals may have been taking advantage of breakfast clubs, and many local authorities provide primary-age children with free healthy snacks whilst at school.
The research also showed that one in 5 people have experienced food poverty in the last 12 months- with latest figures estimating over 280,000 people will have used a food bank in 2012/13, an elevenfold increase since 2008/09. Recently Tesco opened food bank donation points at all its stores on 5 and 6 July, allowing the public to make food donations that would go to families needing a foodbank. Tesco added 30% to the amounts collected. The UK’s most generous store was in Liverpool, where total donations provided the equivalent of 21,000 meals.
Lindsay Boswell, CEO of FareShare said: "With more people turning to charities for food than at any other time in FareShare's history, we know the summer holidays are going to be difficult for many…. these charities offer not only a meal but invaluable support to some of the poorest people in our society.”
Chris Mould, Chairman of the Trussell Trust said: "In the last three months alone Trussell Trust foodbanks have given three days' emergency food to over 150,000 people in crisis and we know that the summer holidays can tip many low-income families over the edge.”
So are the summer holidays stretching gloriously before you, or will they be stretching your budget to breaking point? Did you budget for necessary things like food before you had kids, or have current economic circumstances got the better of you?