The Cost-of-Living Crisis
The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal number two focuses on zero hunger. The goal aim is to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture. The Uk's current cost of living crisis is seeing the effects on the population with food prices rising rapidly people are suffering and many are going hungry.
Food Inflation in the UK is a current crisis and figures suggest that many households are suffering tremendously due to the current Cost of Living effect.
The consumer price index, which indicates the inflationary pressures on various goods and services, rose by 9.2% in the 12 months to December 2022.
In December 2022, food price inflation was at its highest since September 1977 when, according to ONS estimates, the rate was 17.6%.
Food shops for many are becoming impossible even when budgeting leaves many hungry and limited to food and meal options. The current climate effects have left many feeling helpless and the rising cost of food has resulted in more people relying on food banks and charity services within the UK.
The current staggering costs of food have resulted in many individuals relying on food banks and charities within the UK to support themselves during this hard time. Many family's worries worsen when the thought of the British summer time holiday is around the corner and how they are going to feed their children daily during this 6-week period. Many families will feel guilty and with food being the main worry, on holidays children’s activities will be less of a priority. Due to the cost-of-living crisis affecting families who can afford food usually in a normal economic situation, many families do not seek free school meals as they are not eligible creating even more food hunger.
The rising cost has highlighted the demand for help with food in the UK:
The Food Foundation shows a continued rise in food insecurity across the UK. Compared with July 2021 the figure has risen from 7.3% of UK households to 8.8% (4.7 million adults) in the past month.
3.6% (1 million) adults reported that they or someone in their household have had to go a whole day without eating in the past month because they couldn’t afford or access food.
A significant rise in the number of households with children experiencing food insecurity in the past month from 12.1% up from 11.0% in July 2021.
Parents are also more worried about feeding their children school lunches now than they were in August 2020. 4.9% of parents with children aged 8 to 16 in the household who are not registered for Free School Meals are worried their children will have to go without lunch some days because they cannot afford school meals/packed lunched compared with 1.1% in August 2020.
Help and Support!
How can we Help? With many families suffering and a nation of hunger is becoming despair if we can help each other then we must. If you feel you are in a position where you can offer support, I suggest food and essential household donations to your local charity is a fantastic step in supporting families in need which will make a world of difference. Many local supermarkets also offer a drop-off for customers to place items to donate to foodbanks also. If you are finding it difficult to find a local foodbank charity, try social media many local small charities are often advertised through social media networks! If you are not able to donate food, you may be able to donate time and you can volunteer at a local foodbank to help support local charities which is just as helpful and would make that difference also!
Now you may be reading this article and relating to many others and need help with current costs, it is ok to receive help and there is no shame in doing so, so you may ask where can I receive help from?
Foodbanks such as the Trussell Trust have over 1,200 foodbanks across the country. You can use their website to find your local foodbank. There are also many smaller, local groups running foodbanks. If they don’t have websites, they can usually be found on social media.
If you receive certain benefits your child may be eligible for free school meals. This can help to reduce some of your day-to-day costs. You can find out if your child is eligible for free school meals on the government website.
Family Action is a charity which has launched Food on Our Doorstep (FOOD) clubs to provide good-quality food at a low cost, while also reducing food waste. It costs just £1 a year for a family to become a member. Once you’ve joined, you can purchase a bag of tasty food items every week worth approx. £10-£15 for just £3.50!
You may also be worried about the upcoming summer holidays so here are some ideas for free summer fun activities to do with your children. Not everything has to cost! The BBC has provided 22 fun and free family activities ….
1. Play a new ball game
2. Collect rocks
3. Play hopscotch
4. Build an obstacle course
5. Phonics treasure hunt
6. Watch the clouds
7. Pick flowers and make a mini garden.
8. Dance in the rain
9. Visit your local library.
10. Make your own sock puppet theatre!
11. Have a family sleepover
12. Set up a family photoshoot.
13. Enjoy a teddy bear’s picnic
14. Make ice Lollie's
15. Play plastic bottle bowling
16. Make toys
17. Make your own jigsaw puzzle
18. Create your own DIY musical instruments
19. Make paper aeroplanes
21. Homemade playdough
22. Build an indoor fort
The HAF program also provides support during the holidays to children who receive free school meals through providing food and activities. You can register throughout the year. Each eligible child should have received a letter with a unique code and information about how to register. If you haven't got a letter, you can email your local authority council. You only need to register once for the 2023-2024 program, and you can access your account throughout the year.
As a nation, we must work together and if we need help, we must feel no shame and take it. Help is there to be used in a time of crisis and lots of local charities can support you through this difficult period Please, if you can donate or volunteer at any point let’s make that difference and be united as a country to tackle the cost-of-living crisis. No one should be suffering from hunger!