Tackling food insecurity during Covid-19
Covid-19 has increased the number of children and young people in London at risk of ‘food insecurity’ – this means those who cannot guarantee sufficient quality or quantity of food.
In 2019, the Greater London Authority estimated that 400,000 children aged 16 or under were in food insecurity. Of these, only 196,000 will qualify for the new Government food voucher scheme during the pandemic, meaning at least 200,000 may go hungry. This figure is likely to be higher because of rising unemployment and loss of self-employment income.
In addition, school closures and social distancing measures have meant that children are not getting the opportunity to be children by missing out on playing with friends and taking part in fun activities.
What is being done?
Our Kitchen Social programme is the largest provider of food and social activities for children in London during the school holidays.
Now that schools have closed and children are at home, Kitchen Social has stepped up to coordinate relief efforts with its own network of community organisations and other charities to ensure food and activities get to the children and families who need them most during the pandemic.
These organisations are working around the clock to provide packed lunches, hot food for collection and ‘happiness hampers’ to struggling families. In addition, they are also providing fun activity packs and books for children to help their mental wellness during lockdown. We aim to provide this service for London’s children for however long the crisis lasts.
At the moment, we have Kitchen Social community groups operating in 14 London boroughs – some of these are listed below. However, the more money we raise, the more groups we can fund.
The Mayor’s Fund for London has launched an emergency fundraising appeal to support vulnerable children and families during this crisis.
For every £33 we raise, we can provide food and activities for 10 children for one day.
Examples of Kitchen Social community groups:
Barking and Dagenham – YMCA Romford
Barnet – Rainbow Centre
Brent – Roundwood Youth Centre
Camden – Kentish Town Community Centre, The Dome Youth Club and Ossulston St
Ealing – The ART BLOCK and Bollo Brook
Greenwich – Central Eltham Youth Project
Hammersmith & Fulham – Old Oak Community Centre
Hackney – Manor House Development Trust
Islington – Paradise Park Children’s Centre
Lambeth – Black Prince Community Hub, Brixton Library, Fold for Christ Ministry and The Hut
Southwark – Colombo Centre, Central Southwark Community Hub and Mercato Metropolitano
Tower Hamlets – Mayflower Primary School, Bygrove Primary, Stebon Primary School and Spitalfields City Farm
Westminster – The Grow Well Group
Help us spread the word…
If you’d like to share our appeal online, don’t forget to use the hashtag #KitchenSocial.