TWO-thirds of Barnardo’s frontline workers gave food to families in 2020 because of fears they were hungry or would have nothing to eat.
Staff who work directly with children, young people, parents and/or carers were surveyed in January 2021, and 67% of those who responded said they handed out food to struggling service users last year.
The survey of nearly 400 Barnardo’s workers across the UK also revealed that nearly three-quarters (72%) felt that demand for their service had increased over the previous three months. This compares to 56% in July.
The COVID-19 crisis has disproportionately affected low-income families. Many have suffered income and job losses while also facing the increased expenses of having children at home while schools were closed. More and more young people and families are finding themselves unable to meet even their basic needs.
Barnardo’s Children in Crisis Appeal aims to raise funds to provide vital food parcels and vouchers and support vulnerable children experiencing a whole range of other different and difficult circumstances.
Barnardo’s Chief Executive Javed Khan said:
“I’m extremely proud of our fantastic frontline workers, who are among the many unsung heroes of this pandemic.
“However, it is deeply sad that in 2021 we have families across the country who are forced to rely on the kindness of their local communities to avoid going hungry.
“Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, with the money raised during our crisis appeal last year, we were able to provide 7,200 food packages and vouchers.
“While the vaccine programme is progressing and the end of lockdown is in sight, this won’t automatically end poverty – far from it.
“As a society, we must come together to make sure parents are not forced to choose between heating their homes, feeding their children and affording vital data needed for school work, and so much more.
“We know public support for tackling child poverty is at an all-time high. If you can afford to give something to help vulnerable children, no matter how small, please donate today.”
To donate, please visit: https://www.barnardos.org.uk/coronavirus-food-poverty.
Amanda is a single parent to three children aged eight months, seven and 11. Currently, on maternity leave from her job as a beautician, she has struggled to feed her family over the past few months.
Thanks to the support from Jenny at Barnardo’s, the family were able to access food from their local food bank, which meant Amanda was able to put food on the table.
“My income had dropped, and I needed to access benefits to make ends meet, but they stopped for two months. It was terrible, I just had no income. And three hungry children. I really didn’t know what to do. The food started to disappear from the cupboards. I went without to feed the kids. It’s ok for me as an adult, I can stay hungry, but not the children. They don’t understand what’s happening or why, they just know they are hungry. You need to put food on the table for them and are desperate to do that.
“At one stage, I was so stressed I had a panic attack and ended up in hospital.
“When Jenny from Barnardo’s came along, she was an absolute lifesaver. She helped with food vouchers and would go to the foodbank and collect food for us.
“It is scary to think what would have happened if Jenny from Barnardo’s hadn’t come along. I hate to say it, but I could have been dead by now, I really feel that. I’m so grateful for the help I got from Barnardo’s when me and my children most needed it.”