The Independent’s Help the Hungry appeal will be aiding the provision of 25,000 free meals to children this half-term as an army of volunteers step up to tackle half-term hunger in the capital.
Our appeal partner, The Felix Project, which has already served more than 13 million lockdown meals through the support of our Help the Hungry campaign, is set to work with more than 80 school holiday programmes over the week-long break to provide nutritious meals from food that would otherwise be wasted.
It comes as businesses and voluntary organisations across the country step up to support children living with food insecurity after the government ruled out additional support for the UK’s 1.3 million free school meal recipients during the half-term break.
Founded in 2016, The Felix Project rescues quality surplus items from the likes of farms, supermarkets and restaurants and redistributes them to groups including schools, churches, charities, homeless shelters and women’s shelters.
And hundreds of volunteers will work throughout the half-term break to ensure school holiday programmes are able to feed thousands who would otherwise be left without free meal provisions – with fresh vegetables, fruit meat and fish enabling those living below the poverty line to receive high quality food.
Groups set to be supported by the charity include holiday clubs designed to support and feed children while education establishments are closed, as well as pop-up food banks in schools that will provide families with the ingredients and support they need to make nutritious meals for their children.
The Independent’s Help the Hungry campaign was set up in the early days of the nation’s coronavirus lockdown to raise £10m to help in the fight against hunger in vulnerable communities across the UK.
And the money donated to The Felix Project, London’s largest food redistribution organisation, has helped the organisation to double its capacity and deliver enough food for a million meals every month.
The project is aiming to have supplied 19 million meals to those in need of support by the end of the year.
It comes amid growing public support for provisions to combat food poverty in society – with a petition calling for government action to end child hunger nearing a million signatures after being set up by England footballer Marcus Rashford.
Rashford, who has been an avid campaigner around child hunger, has called for an expansion of the free school meals initiatives and an increase to the Healthy Start voucher scheme meal, as well as for government to provide meals and activities during school holidays.