School is well under way, so if you’ve got kids you’ll be back into the swing of it for sure. But did you know that for many children living in poverty in the UK today, returning to school means they are guaranteed at least one meal a day? During the holidays, many parents in Greenwich find it hard to feed their families. They may skip meals to feed their kids, and many kids are reporting going hungry during this time, which has a real impact on their learning and development – quite apart from it being just morally wrong!
After a successful small pilot last summer, GCDA was lucky enough to be funded by the CHildren’s Health Fund this summer to expand the programme. So, we got together again with GLL Adventure Playgrounds and Charlton Athletic Community Trust Youth Services to deliver even more meals throughout the summer. Based on one of the models we used last year, GCDA prepared food at their cafe and delivered it to 5 venues across the borough – Plumstead, Glyndon and Coldharbour Adventure Play Centres and Hawksmoor and Woolwich Common Youth Clubs. Using FareShare surplus produce we produced the food and packaged it for transportation around the borough. We had amazing volunteers on hand at each venue to warm the food, prepare any extras (fruit salad was a big hit) and help serve and clear up. The staff at the venues supported enormously – getting the kids registered, encouraging them to try the food and generally being there to help.
Sadly, this problem seems to be getting worse and every year more and more families are dipping below the poverty line. The holidays are a really challenging time for many so we are still working on ways to delivery to more venues, to more kids.
One amazing development has been with CACT and the in-house caterer at Charlton Stadium Delaware North. Delaware North have agreed to introduce a voluntary Sugar Smart levy on their soft drinks – 10p on
a sugar sweetened drink. The money raised through this levy will go towards holiday meals projects thus helping alleviate hunger during th
e holidays for some of our most vulnerable children.
If you know a restaurant or cafe that you think could introduce a similar levy, let us know! We can help you talk to them to work out how to do it. Or, if you’re interested in getting involved in any other way, then please get in touch – firstname.lastname@example.org.
We could not have run this programme this summer without the help of our amazing volunteers – a massive thank you to these incredible, committed, enthusiastic people.