Central England Co-op is launching a Summer Food Bank Appeal to try and combat holiday hunger after new figures revealed that over 350,000 children are currently living in child poverty across the area.
We will be hosting special collection points in all of its local stores from 8 July to 15 September and encouraging customers and members to donate items from a special list devised with the help of local food bank partners.
The food will then be used to create either bigger food parcels for families with children or to provide special packed lunches for projects that tackle holiday hunger during the summertime.
Data collated by the End Child Poverty coalition and researchers from Loughborough University in May 2019 revealed that across Central England Co-op’s 16 county trading areas* a total of 354,553 children were currently living in child poverty.
This can be broken down to:
9,330 in East Staffordshire and 5,908 in South Derbyshire
7,223 in Cambridge and 23,663 in Peterborough
21,222 in Derby, 39,776 in Leicester and 32,782 in Nottingham
4,698 in Lichfield
15,725 in Northants
6,922 in Stafford
12,724 in Norwich, 7,612 in South Norfolk, 5,223 in Mid Suffolk and 12,326 in Ipswich
131,646 in the West Midlands
17,853 in Yorkshire
Food banks often see a rise in demand from families who see the safety net of free school meals removed during the summer holidays.
This often leaves people trying to stretch their budgets in order to eat and in some cases going without proper food during the holidays.
Debbie Robinson, Central England Co-operative Chief Executive, said: “We at Central England Co-op have worked closely with our food bank partners to come up with a special campaign during the summer months to try and help combat the issue of holiday hunger.
“Our Summer Food Bank Appeal will run from July to September and today we are appealing to our customers and members to support us and help make a real and positive impact in their local area.
“We are asking for people to drop off as many items as they can into our food bank collection points in our stores and play a part in making a real difference to children and families.”
Items that can be donated include shopping basket staples from tea, sugar and cereals to other essentials such as toiletries and hygiene products.
Last year, the retailer’s Summer Food Bank Appeal resulted in 141,000 items being donated, creating enough food to help feed over 35,000 children and families.
Petra Parker, from South Derbyshire CVS, said: “Holiday hunger is an issue that more and more people face each year in the South Derbyshire area.
“During the school holidays the provision of free school meals for many children stops and families experience additional financial burden on already stretched budgets. This can result in children and parents going hungry.
“We are delighted to be working with Central England Co-op and supporting the Summer Food Bank Appeal to combat holiday hunger.
“We would ask people, if they can, to donate some items during the campaign. This will make a huge difference to help food banks ensure that children and their families don’t go hungry this summer.”
Central England Co-operative has permanent food bank collection points in hundreds of its stores all year, which have resulted in thousands of people every month from Birmingham to Norfolk being given enough food to cook meals.
The Society works with over 50 different food banks to provide emergency food and support to individuals and families in crisis throughout the year.
Here is a closer look at Castle Donington Food Bank and why all involved need your support:
Key items needed by food banks during the festive season:
· Tinned food
· Dried pasta
· UHT milk
· Instant coffee