Tackling holiday hunger headfirst

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Families-in-need in Leeds received a little helping hand this half term, as national charity Spread The Happiness joined forces with DHL courier service to hand out free food hampers.

The organisations came together in a bid to tackle the crisis that is holiday hunger over the school break, gathering almost 5,000 items of food and drink to be put towards essential happiness hampers, that have since been delivered to four schools up and down the country to support 163 pupils and their families.

Families whose children would normally receive free school meals and attend breakfast club can struggle with the extra cost of feeding their offspring over the autumn break. With their child not being in full-time education, and at home during the day, this can mean bigger bills for food and daily essentials – leading to ‘holiday hunger.’ Some parents even go without food themselves, to make sure they can afford the food their children need.

Reports released last month highlighted how stretched families have become, with hundreds of people being forced to live in cars and caravans due to not being able to afford the ever-increasing price of rent. In the areas of Hyde Park and Woodhouse, in Leeds, according to a report by End Child Poverty, over 53 per cent were living in poverty in 2017, after housing costs; with child poverty being most prevalent in the larger cities.

Over the past four weeks, Spread the Happiness and over 220 DHL team members have worked tirelessly to collect thousands of items to help those in need – with each hamper packed full of food and family essentials, including tinned produce, pasta, rice, cereal and fruit juice. The hampers were then distributed to chosen primary schools in highly deprived areas.