A recent report that was commissioned by the British supermarket retailer Tesco, food distribution charity FareShare and food bank the Trussell Trust reveals that nearly one fifth of the UK parents are struggling to feed their children. In order to provide food for their children, these parents are skipping meals, or asking family or friends for help, while many are also depending on food banks. The report was published just one month after Oxfam’s research revealed that about a half a million of British rely on food banks to be able to put food on the table.
Tesco’s report also notes that as many as 70 percent of the UK parents rely on school meals. About two thirds of these parents are worried that their children won’t be getting proper nutrition during the summer holidays, with over 25 percent of parents fearing that their children may go hungry without free meals at school and extracurricular activities.
Chris Mould from the Trussell Trust told the British media that one fifth of parents in the UK are having serious difficulties providing food for their families and that thousands of people are asking for food at food banks. And according to the report, the problem of food poverty is expected to get worse due to the rising bills putting an increased pressure on people’s budgets which also confirms an increased demand for food at the Trussell Trust. The food bank was turned to by as much as 170 percent more people than one year earlier.
The researchers defined food poverty as being forced to skip meals out of financial reasons, relying on family or friends for food, turning to food banks or not being able to provide food for the entire family. Parents who skip meals in order to be able to feed their children account for one half of all who are affected by food poverty, while 20 percent of parents said they have accepted help from their family or friends. Most affected are young adults aged between 18 and 24 as nearly one half of them said to experience food poverty in the past six months. The problem was found to be highest in Wales and the East Midlands where nearly one quarter of households are suffering from food poverty in some form.
In order to tackle the problem of food poverty in the UK, Tesco, FareShare and the Trussell Trust decided to launch a food collection initiative which will be held during the first weekend of July at Tesco’s supermarkets nationwide. A similar initiative was carried out by Tesco in December 2012 when the supermarket’s customers were asked to buy goods from a shopping list and donate them to charity workers at the supermarket. They then distributed the food to families that can’t afford to feed all their members. According to Tesco, they collected and donated food for 2.4 million meals. The supermarket retailer and its partners FareShare and the Trussell Trust hope to collect even more goods during the next food collection, while Tesco also promised a financial donation.
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