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The Downside of School Holidays

Londoners are starting to shed their jumpers and find a lovely spot in the park to relax and catch some sun. But for many, it's a time filled with worry. Family budgets, already tight at the end of the month, are often not enough to pay for the extra meals, activities and childcare required when children are not in school.

Research suggest that in London alone, 500,000 children struggle with hunger during the school holidays. It is a Dickensian situation - 1.3 million children in the UK qualify for free school meals but are often left hungry during the 170 days of the year when they have no access to this healthy food. 2 million more children have parents on low wages but do not qualify for free school meals and also struggle when school is out.

Parents are skipping meals themselves to ensure meals for their children. Children are surviving on crisps and energy drinks when school kitchens are closed. Teachers are witnessing children returning to school unhealthy, lethargic and falling behind their peers academically after months of poor diet and the social isolation that ensues from insufficient funds for holiday activities. Many of these children never claw back from the disadvantages faced during the holiday period versus their better-off classmates who have a more wholesome diet during the holidays.

City Harvest aims to help children in some of London's most disadvantaged areas have a happier summer by delivering surplus food to programmes that offer nourishing meals and stimulating activities. We've identified programmes like Bubble & Squeak which are offering children fun and educational experiences and the chance to learn about healthy food.

Every child deserves to have a happy and healthy summer. Along with our generous donors of food, you can make a tremendous impact by donating funds for City Harvest food rescue at Justgiving. We thank you in advance from hundreds of children that will be smiling, nourished and ready for school in September.

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