A FOODBANK is calling for support as struggling families face extra pressure over the school holidays.
New data published by anti-poverty charity The Trussell Trust reveals that last summer 47 per cent of children who received support from foodbanks in its network were five to 11 years old.
Of the other children receiving support 27 per cent were aged zero to four, 21 per cent were aged 12 to 16 and five per cent went to children for whom their age was not known.
The figures also show that 4,412 more three-day emergency food supplies were given to children in July and August 2016 than in the previous two months.
Wrexham Foodbank is involved in a local holiday club to respond to urgent local need and as well as calling for extra support, the organisation is urging local families to seek help if they find themselves struggling this summer.
Sally Ellinson, Wrexham Foodbank manager, said: “Lots of people are just getting by day-to-day but find their income simply won’t stretch to meet the extra pressure of missing free school meals or paying for extra childcare during the holidays.
“Help is here in Wrexham. The foodbank really is run for the community, by the community; it’s all about helping each other and recognizing that nobody in Wrexham should face going hungry.
“We can only continue to provide this crucial support with the community’s help. We rely on local donations to run the foodbank.
“An emergency food parcel, cup of tea and a listening ear at the foodbank can have such an impact, so any donations will make a real difference.
“Everyone who comes to the foodbank is referred by a frontline professional who holds our vouchers and that’s why we’d encourage anyone worried they won’t be able to afford food during this school holiday to talk someone such as Family Support Services, Citizens Advice Bureau, Flying Start and Home Start”.
The Trussell Trust’s data collection system also reveals the percentage of primary school children helped by foodbanks is consistently high all-year round (46 per cent of all children referred between April 2016 and March 2017 were between 5-11), highlighting the need for support throughout the year, not only in the holidays.
Samantha Stapley, operations manager for England at The Trussell Trust, said: “Over a third of all the food distributed by foodbanks in our network consistently goes to children, but these new figures show five to 11-year-olds are more likely than other children to receive a foodbank’s help.
“This highlights just how close to crisis many families are living. We can all make a difference – checking which food your local foodbank is running low on and donating to make sure emergency food is available when people are referred to help is a simple and effective way to get involved.
“You could be helping a family that lives on your street.”
The Rt Rev Lord Bishop of Truro Tim Thornton, said: “It is shocking to read the statistics and the breakdown provided by The Trussell Trust. That so many primary age children are going without food in our country is of great concern.
“It is good that so many voluntary organisations, the vast majority of which are based on churches are working to provide help for families during the summer holidays.
“It is however also important that we keep trying to understand the deeper reasons why this situation is as it is.”
Items currently needed at Wrexham Food Bank are tinned rice pudding, tinned tomatoes, tinned ham, biscuits, long life milk and small jars of coffee.
For up-to-date lists of urgently needed food, information about where donations can be left and to contact the foodbank about possible collection points, visit www.wrexhamfoodbank.org.uk or search Facebook or Twitter for ‘Wrexham Foodbank’.
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