Anti-poverty campaigners have warned that foodbanks are not a ‘long-term’ solution to hunger as data reveals the summer holidays force parents to turn to charity to feed children.
Data from The Trussell Trust, a charity with a network of 420 foodbanks, shows a rise in demand for emergency food for children drove increased foodbank need during the summer holidays last year.
During July and August 2017, the charity’s foodbanks provided over 204,525 three day emergency supplies, 74,011 of which went to children. In comparison, during May and June 2017, 70,510 supplies went to children.
This increase is due to the extra financial burden, placed on families who rely on free school meals, of having to supply more main meals during the holidays.
A report last year from The All Party Parliamentary Group on Hunger estimated the loss of free school meals during the holidays adds between £30 and £40 a week to parents’ outgoings for one child.
Samantha Stapley, director of operations at The Trussell Trust, warns that charity cannot be the long-term solution to tackling hunger.
‘Foodbanks cannot, and must not, be a long-term solution to hunger at any time of year,’ she says.
‘No one should face going hungry, and although our network will be doing all they can this summer to help families struggling to make the money they have stretch to cover the essentials, no charity can replace people having enough money for the basics.
‘There are changes we can make as a nation to help during the holidays, but if we are to protect each other from hunger whatever the time of year, we have to go further than that.
‘We know particular groups of people are most likely to need a foodbank, so let’s make sure no one is swept into destitution. Our benefits system can, and must, act as an anchor to protect people from being pulled into poverty.’