Around 13.6% of school children are entitled to free school lunches. In the vast majority of cases, they qualify for the meals because their parents need a helping hand to keep their kids fed. It’s a safety net available throughout term time, but what happens when schools close for summer?
For six glorious weeks, kids get their freedom from school and mums and dads start counting down the days until September rolls around again. We all get the chance to bask in the sun and have a break from day-to-day termly routines.
Or that’s what’s supposed to happen. In reality, lots of families who are eligible for free school meals have other things to think about. Like ensuring there’s dinner on the table for the kids. Like providing the healthy and nutritious food required by a growing child. Just because another school year has ended, and the dining hall is closed, doesn’t mean families can suddenly find the funds for lunches.
In 2019, approximately 3 million children across the UK are at risk of going hungry over the holidays. Families often struggle through summer break, only for kids to return to school undernourished, exhausted, and unable to focus. What should be an enjoyable six-week holiday, can quickly become a testing and tense time for families who find themselves pushed to the edge.
FareShare’s ActiveAte Campaign
By now, we’re hoping you’ve all heard of FareShare. They are the food waste charity that we've proudly partnered with in a bid to begin tackling food poverty in the UK. If you haven't, check out their website. You'll be amazed by what they achieve.
During the summer holidays, FareShare operates the ActiveAte programme to combat kids' holiday hunger. This involves distributing food to over 400 holiday projects around the UK, all of whom are working to provide nutritious meals and snacks to those kids that need them. In total, the project will reach approximately 50,000 children across the UK who would otherwise go without.
How Are Honest Crust Helping?
At Honest Crust, we’re proud to support the ActiveAte programme. Throughout our partnership with FareShare, we've been struck by the fantastic work they do and consider every little bit of it worthwhile. But for many of us on the Honest Crust team, child hunger is something that hits home. We wanted to do something special to help FareShare reach as many kids as possible.
With that in mind, we decided to provide ActivAte with much needed supplies and some extra hands for volunteering. So, in July and August, Honest Crust will be preparing and sending 15,000 fresh, hand crafted sandwiches to thousands of kids across the East Midlands as part of the ActiveAte programme, all delivered free of charge by the Samworth Brothers delivery service Coldcall. That’s 7,500 mouth-watering ham sandwiches and 7,500 delicious cheese sandwiches. That’s 2,500 sandwiches every week for the entire school holidays.
Recognising that charities often can’t operate on donations alone, Honest Crust employees will also be going along to volunteer with FareShare and other local charities. We'll be helping out with logistics, chipping in to make deliveries, and assisting in any way we can.
It’s not just Honest Crust on this one, though. We’d also like to give a big shout out to our friends at Dr Schar, AC Goatham Farm, Berkshire Meats, Kettle Foods, Lucozade Ribena Suntory, Manor Farm Shop, Greenyard Frozen, McCain, Fruitful Office, Farmhouse Kitchen and Glinwell – all of whom are also making donations to ActiveAte, too. Guys and gals – we salute you!
What Can You Do?
So, that’s what we’re doing to help out. But what can you do? Well, loads, actually. We’ll break it down into three easy steps.
With FareShare, your money goes a long way. £7 a month is enough to provide 28 meals for children at a holiday project. £12 a month will pay for lunch for one child every day of the school holidays. £60 is breakfast for a group of 24 children every weekday for a fortnight. You can donate here. Alternatively, if you or your business is in a position to donate food to the ActiveAte programme, they’re in particular need of low sugar snacks and ready to eat fruit. You can find a full list of what they’re looking for here.
It’s not just financial donations that make a difference, though. Giving up your time to volunteer for FareShare is often just as important. Get in touch with the charity’s volunteering team here. Soon you could be helping out at the local depot, collecting, sorting, and facilitating the delivery of food to local charities in your area.
3. Spread the Word
We all understand the importance of social media in raising awareness of good causes. If you want to do that little bit extra, get online and share the FareShare message. The more people who hear about it, the better!
ActiveAte Really Does Make a Difference
At Honest Crust, we think it's mad that we're still talking about child hunger in the UK in 2019. But that's where we're at right now. We believe we've all got to do our part to make a difference. For us, that difference starts with FareShare and their ActiveAte programme. If you feel the same, it’s time to hop online and sign up as a volunteer, donate and spread the word. And that word is #ActiveAte.