Food waste charity FareShare has put out an urgent call for the food industry to donate healthy food and drinks for children at risk of food poverty over the summer holidays.
The charity has calculated that over the six-week period it must supply 340 tonnes of food to more than 400 UK holiday projects to meet their specific needs. This will provide nutritious meals and snacks to over 50,000 children each week.
As such, the organisation is calling on suppliers and producers, in the fresh produce industry and beyond, to donate fruit, child-friendly snacks, wraps and low-sugar juice, as well as cereal bars, sandwiches, yogurt and spreads.
FareShare’s chief executive Lindsay Boswell said: “We don’t believe it’s right that any child should go hungry, but, shockingly, for millions of UK children, hunger is a daily reality.
“We’ve seen a very sharp increase in the number of schemes that are coming to us for food, most of them run on a shoestring, with the help of volunteers.
“This year we’re hoping to increase the number of schemes we supply with food to over 400 holiday projects and breakfast clubs, but to achieve this we need the continued support of the food industry.”
FareShare, which is mainly focused on redistributing surpluses from producers and packers, highlighted that one in five children grow up in a household where food is scarce, making the summer a particularly difficult period.
With the safety net of free school meals removed, many families face increased financial pressure over the summer break, which can drive them further into food insecurity.
FareShare added that without money for activities, children can also become bored and socially isolated, returning to school malnourished, tired and unable to learn.