The people of Bristol have stepped up to prevent thousands of children from going hungry during the school holidays this summer.
An urgent, city-wide appeal was launched to tackle the devastating harm caused by food poverty in the wake of government cuts to projects that – among other things – ensure proper meals are available for low-income families during the six-week break.
Some £120,000 has been raised by businesses, organisations and individuals in just two months, which Feeding Bristol says will pay for more than 50,000 meals for children and their families.
While charity bosses have welcomed the generous, quick response, they warn that the campaign is far from over in Bristol – which has the highest number of children claiming free school meals in the South West, at almost 11,000, and among the highest proportion in the country.
“We’ve been hugely impressed by the response since we asked Bristol’s businesses to step up and support our campaign to ensure that food is provided to children across the city,” said Feeding Bristol chairman Andy Street.
“We have responded to a crisis, and still have a great deal to do to ensure that activities are provided and that the challenge is fully addressed. A successful city like Bristol should not be facing such a widespread and pressing issue like this in the 21st century. This campaign has showed that many businesses agree.
“We’re still looking for support and would urge people to back our campaign to ensure to support children’s health and wellbeing of children in the city.”
The final amount is yet to be confirmed, but Feeding Bristol is confident it will exceed the target needed to ensure children and their families can access 50,000 meals through a network of activities and holiday clubs on all 30 weekdays of the summer holidays.
A recent parliamentary report on holiday hunger found that children were returning to school in a worse educational, health and developmental state than that in which they had left in the summer.
Feeding Bristol is working to alleviate holiday hunger and its causes across the city. The funding will enable the charity and partner organisations to help break down barriers to food provision to children across the city, through catering hubs, cooks and sourcing additional food through FareShare South West.
Anyone interested in contributing further can contact Feeding Bristol on firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.feedingbritain.org/donations/donate-to-feeding-bristol/ to donate directly.