Charities, experts and victims say the cost of living crisis has worsened what was already an epidemic-scale problem among some of the UK’s poorest and most desperate families. English footballer Marcus Rashford pushed Prime Minister Boris Johnson in 2020 to intensify and tackle food poverty in the UK, especially provision during school holidays.
But the government’s analysis of its £220m Christmas activities and food program (HAF) for 2021 shows that of the 1.7m children eligible for a free hot, healthy dinner, only 498,000, or the 29 percent, they took advantage of it.
And then they did it on average for just 9.6 days.
Figures from the charity End Child Poverty show that 3.6 million children live in poverty in the UK: eight children in each class of 30.
Our Stop Child Hunger Now crusade calls for more action as low wages, high energy costs and skyrocketing inflation are making the crisis worse.
Many local authorities are funding HAF programmes, but they have drawn criticism from parents, who cannot pay to get to the sites.
Lunch is also no guarantee: government guidance states that at least one meal a day should be provided, but this could be breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Labor is urging the Government to allow cash payments for free holiday meals so those most in need can get exactly what they need.
He affirms that if the same percentages as last year access the scheme this summer, the benefit will only reach 550,260 children. That means some 51 million dinners don’t reach our most impoverished youth.
Shadow Schools Minister Stephen Morgan MP said: “Workers would ensure families eligible for free school meals are supported, allowing parents to choose the food and supplies they need to help them fight rising Of the prices”. Statistics from the national anti-poverty charity Turn2us revealed that around 49 per cent of its users with children reported having no money to live on after essentials.
“I am a working mother and I only eat one meal a day so my daughter can get the basics”
A single mother has told how she eats just one meal a day, so she can feed, bathe and dress her five-year-old daughter.Emily Braeger writes.
The 32-year-old mother of a full-time working son, who asked not to be named, said: “I have a hot drink throughout the day to keep me going, but other than that I only eat dinner.”
“It’s really hard. I didn’t think this was affecting me, but now I have a disease that causes high blood pressure. My body literally can’t cope with the lack of food anymore.”
“I feel like a failure and there are times when I feel like breaking down.”
She continued, “As the winter months approach, we will probably have a lot more difficulties. The other day, I noticed we had emergency credit; since the price goes up, I struggle to keep up.”
“Now the food bill has gone up even more. We used to spend £80 on shopping, but now I’m spending twice as much because of the exorbitant prices. My little girl often asks for sweets when we go shopping, and I have to tell her, ‘Such another day.’ But she’s smart and says, ‘Oh, do we have to wait until payday?’ You shouldn’t have to say that to a five-year-old.”
The mother buys basic, off-brand groceries, turns off all appliances in the house when not in use, and makes sure the lights are off, but still barely gets by.
She said, “We just got by. You don’t really get much support when you work full time. Most people can just go to the movies, go to the theater, buy toys for their kids. I can’t.”
“My daughter is desperate to start doing gymnastics and the things her friends do, but we can’t.
“The stereotype of single parents is that we all live off the profits and receive handouts left, right and center, but that’s not the case.”
OAP had no food for four days.
One volunteer revealed how a frail retiree visited a church breakfast club and said he hadn’t eaten for four days due to the cost-of-living crisis.
Donna Scully, who helps out at the Charles Thompson Mission in Birkenhead, Merseyside, shared the heartbreaking story.
The lawyer tweeted: “It’s getting so bad. At the breakfast club there were more people with accommodation than people who were homeless, but they can’t eat and pay the energy bills.”
“A very thin old man this morning hadn’t eaten for four days. In the UK in 2022. He can’t make ends meet.”
Since then, Donna’s tweet has gone viral, with thousands of retweets and shares.
One user said: “Words fail to express the sheer desperation of living in the 5th richest country and this keeps happening.”
Another added: “Hunger stalks UK households and will get worse over the next year.”