As Covid-19 prolongs holiday hunger pains, City Harvest is working with Mayor's Fund for London to deliver free food to 'Kitchen Social' hubs across London who are feeding children who would otherwise not eat a meal that day.
In 2019, the Greater London Authority estimated that:
400,000 children in London aged 16 or under were in food insecurity.
only 196,000 are on free school meals
therefore qualify for the Government food voucher scheme during the pandemic, meaning at least 200,000 may go hungry.
This figure is likely to be higher because of rising unemployment and loss of self-employment income. In addition, many food banks are struggling.
Laura Winningham, CEO of City Harvest offers some perspective on what City Harvest does, how they have stepped up and what London's need looks like now,
"Since launching in 2014, City Harvest London has rescued 10 million meals. In the first 8 weeks of lockdown, we delivered 1.2 million to people facing food poverty."
Clara Widdison, Head of Social Inclusion, Mayor’s Fund for London
“We are delighted to be working with City Harvest to support children at risk of hunger during this crisis. This pandemic has brought food insecurity into the spotlight, but for many families, this continues to be a daily reality – and one that will only get worse as time goes on. That’s why our holiday provision programme, Kitchen Social, is now working with local community groups all over London to deliver hot meals, packed lunches and activity packs to families, especially those who do not qualify for the government food vouchers scheme. With City Harvest’s support, we have been able to provide food for even more children who urgently need our help. Thank you to everyone who has made this possible.”
City Harvest delivers to #kitchensocial hubs across London, below are some first hand reports on the impact receiving free food has on their families.
Old Oak Centre
A Peabody tenant, whose family is receiving weekly food parcels, described it as essential. The husband is self-employed, the sole breadwinner of the family, with three children. He has been told to shield for 12 weeks and the family is going through financial difficulties with no income.
The mother said, "I am so grateful and blessed to be part of Old Oak Centre and to be receiving these parcels weekly. My children look forward to the packed lunches on Tuesdays and Thursdays and the weekly delivery of fruit and vegetables.’’
Happy Lunch & Play Project
Max Roach Hub - Loughborough Junction
"I can’t thank you all at Kitchen Social enough for providing us with additional support and food. It is one less meal for our families to worry about on the days our project is operating.
The lunch enables the children to vary their diet throughout the week.
One parent's feedback was that her very fussy eater is more willing to eat Happy Lunch meals, as it is from Max Roach. We now promote this message amongst our families with fussy eaters."
"The only thing that is keeping me sane during this period are the little smiling faces, that rush to greet us.
Even if, it’s only for a moment, metres away, through bars, to say, 'Hi' and wave. Happy Lunch is so much more than a meal, at this moment in time. For many of the children we visit at each session, we are the only familiar humans outside of their home, that they have seen since isolation was initiated. The project enables the children to feel part of a community and gives the children something positive to look forward to.
We have celebrated 4 birthdays and a birth amongst the gloom! We went the extra mile with community cards, cake and balloons. Our project is so vital to the mental health and wellbeing of children."
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