UNICEF will feed children in the UK for the first time in history, as part of an emergency response to the economic fallout of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Hundreds of thousands of people have been left without employment in the UK since the pandemic took hold in March, with many families struggling to feed their children.
As many as 2.4 million children were said to be living in food-insecure households back in May, according to a YouGov poll from the Food Foundation. By October, a further 900,000 children had registered for free school meals after their family income dropped below the threshold.
Things have become so severe that the UN agency has even compared the current crisis to the situation during the Second World War, when food was severely rationed.
Now, the organisation has pledged a grant of £25,000 to the charity School Food Matters, which will give out thousands of breakfast boxes during the two-week Christmas school holidays to children in food-insecure households in south London.
The boxes will have enough food to create 10 breakfasts across the two-week period.
‘We feel it’s critical to come together at this time,’ UNICEF UK’s Anna Kettley said, as per Sky News.
‘It’s the first time which we’re recognising that this is an unprecedented situation which requires everyone to roll their sleeves up, step in and support children and families that need it most at this time.’
One recipient of the food boxes is Donna Cadman, whose husband passed away in August 2019. Since he died, she has been struggling to make ends meet financially, and has described the boxes as a ‘god-send’.
‘It was hard, I was going without food, just skipping meals and going with a sandwich or maybe a tin of food, and giving all I had to the children and going without as long as I could,’ she explained.
‘Bringing up three children is hard, and the school and charity really helped us a heck of a lot, and I can’t thank them enough for what they’ve done for us.’
UNICEF supports children and teens in 190 countries all around the world, however it is more commonly associated with offering aid in third-world or war-torn countries. However, as a result of the economic fallout of the pandemic, the UK has now officially been added to the list.
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Topics: News, COVID-19, Free school meals, Now