The Somer Valley Foodbank has asked local people to check what donations are most needed in the area this summer, following worrying figures revealed by anti-poverty charity, The Trussell Trust.
The Trussell Trust’s network of over 420 foodbanks, which Somer Valley Foodbank is part of, provided 3,500 more three day emergency food supplies to children during July and August 2017 compared to the previous two months.
Primary school aged children were most likely to receive support from a foodbank last summer.
Families who rely on free school meals at primary school during term time can find themselves facing hunger in the school holidays, when there is extra financial pressure to provide main meals.
Last year’s report from The All Party Parliamentary Group on Hunger estimated the loss of free school meals during the holidays adds between £30 and £40 a week to parents’ outgoings for one child.
The foodbank has urged local families to seek help if they are struggling to afford food this summer, and asks local people able to donate to support their work in the community.
Paul Woodward, Somer Valley Foodbank Manager explained: “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 the Somer Valley area. Everyone who comes to the foodbank is referred by a local agency who holds our vouchers so we’d encourage anyone worried they won’t be able to afford food this summer to talk to Citizen’s Advice, Family Support, Health Visitors and DHI.
“No one should need a foodbank’s help, and we’re determined to work alongside other foodbanks in The Trussell Trust’s network to bring about long-term change to end hunger not only during the holidays, but at any time of year.
“Whilst we work towards this, we’ll continue to take practical action on the ground, providing the best emergency support possible to local people facing hunger.
“It’s only with the community’s help that we’re able to continue, as we rely on local donations to run the foodbank.”
Samantha Stapley, Director of Operations at The Trussell Trust, added: “Foodbanks cannot, and must not, be a long term to solution to hunger at any time of year. No one should face going hungry, and although our network will be doing all they can this summer to help families struggling to make the money they have stretch to cover the essentials, no charity can replace people having enough money for the basics.
“There are changes we can make as a nation to help during the holidays, but if we are to protect each other from hunger whatever the time of year, we have to go further than that.
“We know particular groups of people are most likely to need a foodbank, so let’s make sure no one is swept into destitution. Our benefits system can, and must, act as an anchor to protect people from being pulled into poverty.”
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.somervalley.foodbank.org.uk.