Unicef helps feed hungry children ‘as part of first UK response’

Unicef is helping to feed hungry children in the UK as part of what is said to be the charity’s first domestic emergency response in its 70-year history.

Some 1,800 families struggling as a result of the coronavirus pandemic will receive breakfast boxes over the Christmas school holidays, the charity School Food Matters said.

The charity said the initiative has been made possible by a grant from Unicef UK, which represents the first time the organisation has developed a domestic emergency response.

The families in Southwark, south London, will receive 18,000 breakfasts which will be distributed by schools for two weeks when they break up.

The programme, jointly run with Food Power, Sustain’s food poverty programme, will also provide 6,750 breakfasts to families over the February half-term break.

School Food Matters founder Stephanie Slater said: “The response to our summer Breakfast Boxes programme has shown us that families are really struggling and 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.

“By providing our breakfast boxes, families know that their children will have a great start to the day with a healthy nutritious breakfast.”

Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner said: “The fact that Unicef is having to step in to feed our country’s hungry children is a disgrace and Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak should be ashamed.

“We are one of the richest countries in the world. Our children should not have to rely on humanitarian charities that are used to operating in war zones and in response to natural disasters.

“Charities and businesses across the country have done a brilliant job stepping in where the Government has failed, but it should have never come to this.”