It’s the lead up to Christmas, you’ve just got in from a long day at school and you’re absolutely ravenous. To the fridge! Just as you’re about to take the cocktail sausages from the second shelf, your mum stops you dead in your tracks…
“That’s for Christmas!!”
That’s one of the many collective Christmas memories that seem to be common across families of all shapes and sizes in the UK.
But what about those who can’t do a Christmas food shop? Those who might be wondering where their next meal’s going to come from?
In January 2021, 1.74 million pupils were eligible for free school meals; this is an increase of almost 300,000 since January 2020 when the figure was 1.44 million. This is a big indication that poverty affects many families all over the UK.
One in 10 UK families, around 3 million households, are struggling to meet the cost of living including being unable to cover basic bills such as food and heating. And with inflation rates rising at record levels, this is only set to get worse.
The impact that this can have on students’ education is immeasurable.
Manchester’s very own, Marcus Rashford, has been an ambassador of FareShare since their urgent Covid-19 appeal calling for donations, food and volunteers to fight hunger and tackle food waste in the nations most vulnerable communities.
Hunger can be a distraction, but there are also associated feelings of anxiety and shame which impact the ability to concentrate and undermine self-confidence. Learners of all ages can feel isolated and unable to connect with peers as they can’t take part in extra-curricular or social activities.
On top of this, those in food poverty are often experiencing poverty in other areas and falling on the wrong side of the digital divide that has come so sharply into focus over the course of the pandemic. This means they have limited access to the internet and computers, making research, homework or participation in remote learning a challenge.
These are heart-wrenching circumstances that no family should have to face.
At TQUK, we’re trying to do what we can to support those in our local community who carry the uncertainty of where their next meal is coming from during these cold months.
You may wonder, how are we going to do that?
Throughout December, we’ve set up a collection box in our office for all members of staff to make donations that will be taken to our local food banks here in Sale, Manchester. We’ve focused on providing cupboard staples, but adding in a little Christmas magic with treats and chocolates because everyone deserves something a little bit ‘more’ at this time of year.
We’d like to encourage all of our followers and customers to donate to their local food banks. Whether it’s a collection from a group or a packet of stuffing dropped into a local collection point, every single donation really can be the one that makes all the difference.
The Trussell Trust state that non-perishable, in-date food donations are sorted into emergency food parcels by volunteers to be given to people in crisis.
People in crisis may be identified by care professionals such as health visitors, staff at schools and social workers who will then issue them with a foodbank voucher. From there, they’ll be able to receive a foodbank parcel of three days worth of nutritionally balanced, non-perishable food from their local food bank.
As we get ready to bring the year to an end, we want to make sure that we’re doing our part to help those in need and removing stresses which can overwhelm people and make them less able to engage in activities such as learning which ultimately can lead to opportunities for permanent change.