3 million children could go hungry over school holiday
April 25, 2017 1 comment
As many as three million British schoolchildren could go hungry during the summer holiday, MPs have warned.
This week, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Hunger published a report claiming that this number includes the one million children who get free meals during term time and an additional two million whose parents are classified as living in poverty.
Examples cited in the report include one child who became ill during the school holidays because his diet consisted exclusively of crisps. Meanwhile a group of children had to drop out of a holiday football tournament because many of them had not had a full meal during the days beforehand and their “bodies simply gave up on them”.
Among the children from poorer families, the ones who attend out-of-term ‘free meal and fun’ projects ate more healthily, did more exercise and behaved better than those who did not. Such children actually returned to school “in a much improved condition than they otherwise would have done in the absence of those projects”, the report read.
Long-time Labour MP Frank Field is chair of this group. He called the findings “staggering” as they showed not only the sheer number of children exposed to hunger when out of school “but also that this exposure risks damaging their prospects of gaining a good education and living a healthy life”.
The abolition of holiday-time hunger was a job that required national focus Field insisted, because it was “beyond the ability of individual community groups and volunteers alone”. He added that following the general election in June, the government should recognise that “under its stewardship of the fifth richest country in the world, too many children are stalked by hunger”.
Last year, anti-hunger charity the Trussell Trust estimated that as many as 40 per cent of parents whose children are between five and 16 years of age would skip meals over the school holidays so their children would not go without food. The charity’s Foodbank Director suggested that “many families are closer to crisis than we think”.
Photo by Doug Floyd via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence.
April 25, 2017
Categories: Family Life