A fifth of parents skip meals so kids don’t go hungry during summer break

© Ben Stansall
A fifth of parents go hungry during the day in order to ensure their children get enough food in the long summer school holiday, a survey by a leading poverty charity has found.

Research by the Trussell Trust has uncovered a disturbing level of poverty across the UK, as one in five parents say they skip a meal during the day so there will be enough food for their children.

Two in five parents surveyed said they worry about the extra costs of childcare during the summer holiday.

Young parents, aged between 25 and 34, are more likely to feel very concerned about feeding their children during the summer.

The Trust estimates almost 1.5 million people could skip meals over the next six weeks, as schools across Britain finish term for the summer.

The Trussell Trust’s Foodbank Network Director said the results show families in Britain are close to crisis.

Families who rely on free school meals during term time can find themselves facing hunger in the school holidays, when there is an extra financial pressure to provide main meals.

No one knows the full scale of hunger in the school holidays yet, but these figures make one thing clear: many families are closer to crisis than we think.

It should be a wake-up call to us all that so many children will have a parent expecting to skip a meal or more this summer so they can feed the family,” he added.

More than 1.1 million people in the UK visited the Trussell Trust’s food banks for three-day emergency food supplies.

The true scale of poverty in Britain could be far greater, according to a report published in April this year by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Hunger.

It estimated more than half of the emergency food aid supplied to families in crisis comes from independent food banks and organizations not on the Trussell Trust’s radar.

Curtis said food banks alone “will not end hunger during the school holidays.”

A long-term coordinated solution between government, businesses, schools and charities will have the most impact.