Food banks plead for donations in bid to beat children's holiday hunger
PUBLISHED: 12:07 14 August 2019 | UPDATED: 12:08 14 August 2019
More than 80,000 items have been donated to a food bank appeal to stop children in Norfolk and Suffolk from going hungry this summer.
The three month appeal, run by Central England Co-op, has reached its halfway point, and the chain is pleading for the region's shoppers to continue to support its efforts.
The summer food bank appeal was launched in July this year after figures showed 37,885 children were living in child poverty in the region.
The 80,000 items donated at collection points in stores so far have supplied food banks in Norwich and Corby with enough food to create meals for over 20,000 families and youngsters this summer.
But food banks are urging people to keep donating due to a major rise in demand resulting in some coming close to running out of food.
Central England Co-op chief executive Debbie Robinson thanked donors for their generosity, but said: "Some are close to running out of vital items so we still need people to back our campaign."
Items that can be donated include shopping basket staples from tea, sugar and cereals to other essentials such as toiletries and hygiene products.
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The food is then 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.
Holiday hunger revolves around 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.
Matthew Scade, Waveney Food Bank project manager, said: "We cannot thank people enough for their donations but we would ask for them to please continue their support during the summer to ensure that we can help children at risk of going hungry and help us cope with unprecedented demand.
"Just one item being donated at the special collection points at Central England Co-op Food Stores this summer can make a real difference to a youngster who is struggling for food and living in poverty."
The Summer Food Bank Appeal is running until September 15, with special collection points currently in place in over 200 stores.
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.