Holiday Hunger

The Chelmsford Holiday Hamper Project is a joint initiative between the Essex Child and Family Wellbeing Service, selected Chelmsford Schools, the Chelmsford Foodbank, Chelmsford Centre Supporting Voluntary Action and Chelmsford City Council- Community Sport & Wellbeing team.

Through the project, identified pupils from selected schools are provided with a “Holiday Hamper” made up of some food basics, to support with Holiday Hunger during school holidays. The school identify families who may be in need and provide them with an invitation letter; parents/ carers sign a slip to say whether they would like the hamper or not, and hampers are delivered out to the schools a few days before the school holidays. Schools arrange for parents to discreetly collect the hampers at a convenient time.

Hampers contain items such as; bread, milk, cereal, oats, pasta, rice, tinned fruit, veg and fish, orange juice, cereal bars, biscuits and passata. Food for the hampers is donated through a number of collection points in the local community from members of the general public and from local businesses. Some funding was also sought for the project.

We had a number of staff and volunteers support with the project.

This included;

• Volunteers from the Chelmsford Foodbank- who helped with collecting all of the food from the collection points around Chelmsford and providing beans and soup for the hampers

• Volunteers from Chelmsford Centre Supporting Voluntary Action  and Gallagher Insurance/ AJG support who supported with packing up the hampers.

This intervention was needed as;

• School Holidays can be a difficult time for many families who struggle with the additional financial cost of feeding children during the day (when they would usually be at school), whilst also paying for activities and things to entertain children during time off school

• An estimated 3 million children risk being hungry in the school holidays in the UK

• The Food Foundation recent report on the affordability of a healthy diet showed low income households are struggling to follow the UK Government Eatwell Guide (that outlines what a nutritious diet should look like).

• This same report identifies that “For households with children in the bottom two deciles, earning less than £15,860, 42% of after-housing disposable income would have to be spent to meet the Eatwell Guide costs. The results point to the need to ensure the incomes and resources of low-income households are adequate for purchasing a healthy diet, and to take measures to support these households in affording the foods contained within the Eatwell Guide.”