School is officially out for the summer, and Greater Manchester food banks fear it will be their busiest yet.
Whilst for many families, the holidays signal trips abroad and days out to the beach, for others, they see parents going hungry to ensure their children can have enough to eat.
New figures show that food bank use by schoolchildren has surged by a fifth in just a year, with 87,496 three day emergency parcels going to children in the 2018 summer holidays – a 20% increase on the same period in 2017.
This has fuelled concerns that Manchester’s food banks may be forced to turn families away empty-handed if they do not receive enough donations from the public this summer.
Indeed, Manchester South Central Food Bank in Hulme has already had to turn some people away due to a lack of supplies.
Figures suggest that three million UK children are at risk during the school break, with 231,700 children living in poverty here in the north-west.
And whilst, thanks to the city mayor’s Salford Assist programme, hard-up parents of children who qualify for free school meals in Salford are set to receive £30 shopping vouchers to stop them from going hungry over the holidays, here in Manchester low-income families will be looking to local food banks for help putting food on the table.
During the summer break, parents face the loss of free school meals, extra childcare costs and benefit payment delays – with already tight budgets squeezed even further by year on year benefit erosions.
Government estimates suggest that the loss of free school meals costs parents an additional £30 to £40 a week per child alone – a sizeable increase for those already on a limited budget.
Emma Revie, chief executive of the Trussell Trust, said: “Food banks will do all they can to help families over the summer, with many running holiday clubs to support parents who find their income simply won’t stretch to meet the extra pressure of missing free school meals or paying for additional childcare during the holidays.”
There are currently more than 150 food banks across Greater Manchester, all of which rely on donations in order to keep their shelves stocked with supplies.
Over 90% of food in The Trussell Trust network is donated by the public, so even just giving a couple of tins and a few packets can be a worthwhile contribution to stop local children going hungry this summer.
Here are just some examples where your donation can make a massive difference. Please see the individual websites to check drop-off details. For the full list, visit Greater Together Manchester.
You can also check what items your local food bank needs most here.
Manchester Central Food Bank
Part of The Trussell Trust network, Manchester Central Food Bank on Oxford Road was founded in 2013 by a group of students to address food poverty and has since helped thousands of people. It is able to receive donations Monday-Friday between 10am and 4pm. Contributions can also be made through Sainsbury’s Local at 339-401 Oxford Road and Tesco Extra on Hyde Road in Gorton.
Manchester South Central Food Bank
Also part of The Trussell Trust network, bosses hand out 1,516 three-day emergency parcels here a year. Based in Hulme, for the last couple of weeks the food bank has struggled to meet demand and been forced to turn some people away. Urgently needed items include tinned fruit, tinned rice pudding, tinned tomatoes, UHT milk and tinned potatoes. Donations can be left at the Stretford Tesco on Chester Road anytime Monday to Saturday, and between 11am and 5pm on Sundays.
Compassion Food Bank
Based on Moss Lane East in Moss Side, Compassion Prison Ministry and Food Bank is a Pentecostal multi-denominational group which provides Christian witness across the prison service, as well as a community food bank for local users. They host breakfast clubs and coffee mornings, as well as providing both food parcels and fresh meals to help those in need, with donations greatly appreciated.
300 Moss Lane East, Moss Side, Manchester, M14 4SS
Fallowfield & Withington Food Bank
The Fallowfield & Withington Food Bank is also in The Trussell Trust network. Students with a few spare tins lying around – why not get them in? They welcome donations to the building itself (10am-7pm), and there are also collection points at Withington Methodist Church (also 10am-7pm), RBS (West Didsbury and Wilmslow Road branches) and also Sainsbury’s (496 Wilmslow Rd and Birchfields Road branches).
Union Chapel, 2b Wellington Road, Fallowfield, Manchester, M14 6EQ
A Manchester homeless charity which has been operating for 26 years and helping as many as 600 people every week. Barnabus is currently open to donations of non-perishable food and toiletries which can be made to their support office Monday to Friday, 10am – 3pm. These contributions will make a crucial difference to providing hard up families with more resources at a particularly demanding time of year.
Wood Street Mission
Wood Street Mission charity was founded in Manchester in 1869. They can help with children’s clothes, toys, bedding, baby equipment and toiletries and families can attend their Book Clubs, to pick up books to take home and have a fun morning together each school holiday. Their SmartStart project helps with school uniform and other kit for going back in September. The charity also requires help sorting donations, so contributions of people’s time are greatly appreciated.
26 Wood St, Manchester M3 3EF
Salford Food Bank
For anyone who lives in, or closer, to the Salford side of town, Salford Food Bank accepts donations of non-perishable food and toiletries. People wanting to contribute can drop-off donations at the Food Bank on Great Clowes Street from 9am – 5pm on weekdays. It is advised that people get in touch with the foodbank in advance to check that someone is available to take the donation. Various supermarkets in the area also serve as collection points, with more information available on the website.
Mocha Parade, Salford M7 1QE