A food charity is celebrating its millionth breakfast delivered to children in Southwark and Lambeth whose families have struggled amid the Covid-19 pandemic, writes Kit Heren…
School Food Matters switched to delivering breakfast to kids during the first lockdown in May, away from its usual role of educating people on the importance of eating healthily.
The new programme, called Breakfast Boxes, has continued ever since, including through school closures and school holidays, with support from Impact on Urban Health, part of Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity, the Food Power for Generation Covid scheme and public donations.
Each breakfast box is filled with two weeks’ worth of breakfasts – including fresh fruit, oats, rice, wholemeal bread, baked beans, Weetabix and milk.
A parent at Archbishop Tenison’s School in Kennington who has been given boxes said: “The breakfast boxes have been extremely helpful to my family. The impact of the Lockdown has been devastating, as we were unable to work.
“I have two teenage children in the house, and we were unsure where the next meal was coming from. The thought of them going to bed hungry or their food not being nutritious enough was very scary. However, once we started receiving the boxes, it was a blessing and a comfort.”
James Robinson, the headteacher of Camelot school in Peckham, has been delivering the breakfast boxes with his fellow teachers.
He said that he was climbing so many flights of stairs that he was walking 30,000 steps before work.
“It’s been a privilege for me to get involved and a lifeline for our families,”he said. “We are one of the most deprived schools in Southwark and our families were stunned by the quality of the ingredients and fresh fruit.”
Robinson added that he was planning to run the 2021 marathon to raise money for a local food bank.
CEO and Founder of School Food Matters, Stephanie Slater, said: “Children in Britain deserve to have enough nutritious food to ensure they are healthy and able to thrive. The pandemic has highlighted the urgent need to review school food policy and funding. We must use this moment as an opportunity for change.
“We support the National Food Strategy’s call on the government to expand entitlement to free school meals, so that every child receives the food they need to thrive.”