Speaking at the Brakes UK Child Food Insecurity Forum at the House of Commons on April 25, new CEO of the foodservice wholesaler, Ton Christiaanse, has pledged to support its Meals & More charitable initiative with an additional £500,000 over the next five years.
Christiaanse said that the current situation with child food poverty, which affects more than 3.5 million children in the UK, was completely unacceptable.
“In today’s society we simply cannot allow child hunger to continue. At Brakes we launched the Meals & More initiative to start a movement, a movement that will change the lives of millions of children for the better.
“But we need more support from other food businesses and from the government. In order to truly make a difference, we need to ensure that we are all working together to eliminate this blight on our society. Together we will make that difference.”
Meals & More was created ‘to ensure that children do not go hungry, particularly in the holidays when there is a lack of structured help’.
It is driven by Brakes and 30 of its suppliers, who supported 42 clubs in some of the most deprived areas of the UK in Summer 2016, providing around 10,000 nutritious meals in the summer holidays alone to almost 2,000 children, and holiday activities for those children who normally benefit from free school meals.
Meals & More project manager, Pem Hulusi, said: “We are delighted that Brakes is making this extra investment as tackling child poverty is a huge challenge and we need business, industry and the government to recognise that funding is needed.
“Holiday hunger is a stark symptom of UK child poverty, and many families really struggle over holiday periods without programmes like Meals & More. These valuable holiday clubs not only deliver tasty, nutritious meals but also offer fun activities that teach and encourage healthy lifestyles. They also aim to offer parents and children much-needed social support to tackle isolation and enhance their employment opportunities.”