(CMR) With UK families struggling as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, thousands of children in Southwark, South London are set to receive breakfast boxes over the two-week Christmas holidays.
Unicef has pledged a grant of £25,000 to the charity School Food Matters which will use the money to supply 18,000 breakfast boxes to vulnerable children from 25 schools in South London. Each Box will provide enough food for 10 breakfasts across the Christmas holiday.
This is the first time in its history that Unicef will fund a program to feed children in the United Kingdom. However, the school feeding program is only a fraction of the assistance Unicef is providing to families. The agency has provided £700,000 in emergency funding to feed hungry children in the UK.
Anna Kettley, the director of the program at Unicef UK, said:
“This is Unicef’s first ever emergency response within the UK, introduced to tackle the unprecedented impact of the coronavirus crisis and reach the families most in need.”
Since the first national lockdown in March, many families have not been able to adequately feed their children due to significant job loss in the struggling economy.
A YouGov poll commissioned by the charity Food Foundation in May found that 2.4 million children were living in food-insecure households. By October it said an extra 900,000 children had been registered for free school meals.
Founder and chief executive of School Food Matters, Stephanie Slater, described Unicef's funding as a timely one. She said
“ many were facing the grim reality of a two-week winter break without access to free school meals and the indignity of having to rely on food banks to feed their children.”
Unicef, which provides humanitarian and developmental aid to children in third-world countries, has likened the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on youngsters to that of World War II.