The summer holidays are ever-so-nearly upon us. Six glorious weeks of summer, light nights and lazy days. Sounds idyllic right?
Except for many children and families in this city, the closure of schools means tummies are not going to be quite as full for the foreseeable future.
The food banks are preparing, stocking up for the inevitable surge in requests for help.
The Trussell Trust, (https://www.trusselltrust.org/) which operates food banks in the UK, said they expect figures to rise again this summer. From 1st April to the 30th September 2017 the network distributed 586,907 3 day emergency food supplies to people in crisis. 208,956 of these went to children. The primary reason for 1.4% of the total number of referrals was for child holiday meals. (https://www.trusselltrust.org/news-and-blog/latest-stats/mid-year-stats/)
Coventry’s food bank (run by the Trussell Trust) saw a 17% rise in demand over the school holidays last year. (https://www.coventrytelegraph.net/news/coventry-news/shame-coventrys-hungry-kids-thousands-13413652) With a total of 6,600 children using food banks in the West Midlands in July and August. The increase in demand was put down to the loss of a regular school meal. The rise in demand for food in Coventry during the summertime was one of the biggest in the country.
Let’s let that sink in.
Our children are amongst the hungriest in the UK over the summer months.
So, how can we help?
Add a little something extra to your trolley
One of the main ways to help is to donate to a foodbank. Many local supermarkets have collections for the foodbanks, just bung an extra tin of beans in your trolley, add some long life milk and bag of pasta and you are helping ensure a child doesn’t go hungry.
Time for a spring clean? Got some tins you can’t see yourself using? Donate them. Do it with a group of friends, pledge a number of items each, gather them together and drop your collections off at your nearest food bank.
The £6 challenge (or £4 or £3 o4 £2)
If you are lucky enough to have a bit of disposable cash, set a challenge, involve the kids! Pick an amount of cash and see what you can get with your small budget. This is a great way to keep the kids occupied in the supermarket, not only will you be preventing their maths skills from going rusty, they’ll have to check best before dates and make final decisions about what to buy and put back! They can compare what they’ve got with friends, see who came closest to the budget and who got the most for their money. Above all of this, they’ll have helped a family in crisis.
Donate to the Valley House Free Food Cupboard
Many of our service users feel the pinch, which is why we’ve set up a ‘Free Food Cupboard’ anyone, using any of a services can help themselves to a maximum of five items (if they need more we can provide foodbank vouchers). Our food cupboard relies solely on donations and we are currently very low on supplies. To donate, simply drop off store cupboard items (tinned and dried foods, ‘treat’ items for the children) to our main office, 55-57 Bell Green Road, Bell Green, CV6 7GQ) Alternatively, you could donate to our Just Giving page; https://www.justgiving.com/valleyhouse simply state that you want the donation to be used for the Free Food Cupboard!