Tesco launches new initiatives to support children facing hunger this summer
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Tesco launches new initiatives to support children facing hunger this summer

  • Tesco will donate £1m to FareShare and the Trussell Trust this summer to help tackle high levels of need
  • All major stores will have food bags available for purchase by customers, making it even easier for shoppers to donate
  • Children eat for free at Tesco cafeto meduring the summer holidays

Tesco launches new initiatives to support children facing hunger this summerWith the school holidays approaching, new research shows a huge need to provide support for children during the break in school meals.

Trussell Trust food banks support families all year round – almost two thirds of all support last year went to families with children. Last summer, Trussell Trust food banks supported 430,000 people with emergency food – 160,000 of whom were children – and the charity expects similar demand, or even more, this summer.

Additional research from Tesco* highlights the challenges they face during the school holidays, with one in twelve respondents saying their children have had to miss meals in the past due to financial constraints – a problem that was alleviated during term time with access to free school meals.

Pressures on family finances could also mean children become less active and more isolated during the school holidays. According to Tesco research, 42% of families say their children will not be able to take part in clubs and activities during the holidays because of the cost.

Given these challenges, Tesco is donating £1 million to FareShare and the Trussell Trust this summer as part of its Stronger Starts programme. This is in addition to Tesco’s in-store grants programme, Stronger Starts, which aims to help schools and children’s groups in local communities across the UK.

Tesco will also be extending its pre-packed customer donation bags to all major stores this summer. The bags, which usually cost between £2 and £3, are pre-filled with healthy, nutritious, long-life foods and can be collected from the store and paid for at the checkout. The food donated is then given to FareShare and the Trussell Trust, who will distribute it to charities and food banks to help families who need it most.

As well as the donation bags, for a week in July and another in August, customers will have the opportunity to round up their bill at the checkout to the nearest pound. Last year, generous Tesco customers donated almost £600,000, which was split between FareShare and the Trussell Trust. Online shoppers will also be able to make a cash donation at the checkout.

For families shopping in-store, the supermarket will also launch its popular Kids Eat Free scheme across 317 cafes across the UK?during the school holidays. The supermarket’s cafes will be offering one free Kids Hot Meal Deal, Kids Breakfast or Kids Pick ‘n’ Mix with every adult purchase of 60p or more when they show their Tesco Clubcard or Clubcard app at the checkout.

Tesco continues to support FareShare and other community groups throughout the year by redistributing unsold food from all its stores through its Community Food Connection programme, which has delivered over 192 million meals to date. Customers can also donate the value of their Clubcard vouchers to FareShare or the Trussell Trust online.

Claire De Silva, Community Director at Tesco, said:

“Too often, families who receive too little support during the holidays see their children miss out on everything they deserve – not only for their physical health, but also for their mental well-being.

“If we all come together in the coming months, whether it’s by dropping off a few cans at a food drive, picking up a bag of food at our stores, or rounding up our grocery bill, we can do this, “a difference in the lives of thousands of children who, without support, might have had a difficult summer holiday.”

David Bradshaw, headteacher of Hillborough Junior School in Luton, said:

“During term time, schools provide balanced, nutritious meals, snacks, physical activity and social interaction, which all help children get off to a good start in life. During the school holidays, we know that children’s physical and mental health can suffer and the benefits of providing support to children during the school holidays cannot be overstated.”

Emma Revie, Chief Executive of the Trussell Trust, said:

“We are incredibly grateful to Tesco for their generous donation and look forward to working with them to launch these summer activities in stores, which will make it easier for people to support their local food banks over the festive period.

“Our network of food banks distributed more than 1.1 million food parcels to children last year, almost double the number five years ago, illustrating the unacceptable levels of hardship many people face at the moment. No one should have to turn to a charity for something as essential as food and as we work to deliver long-term change, Tesco’s support this summer will make a real difference to the lives of families across the UK.”

George Wright, CEO of FareShare, said:

“During the school holidays, many families across the UK struggle to access regular school meals, prompting them to turn to local groups for support. This is causing an increase in demand for food. With around three quarters of the organisations we support providing food to children and families, the 8,500 charities that FareShare supplies food to are under enormous pressure.

“This generous donation from Tesco will ensure we continue to provide vital support to charities that rely on FareShare food to strengthen their local communities this summer. Our surplus sourcing model means that every £1 donation enables over £4 of nutritious food to support those in need. We are deeply grateful for Tesco’s ongoing commitment to our partnership.”

Launched in 2023, Tesco Stronger Starts is an £8m grant programme in partnership with Groundwork UK that increases funding for additional food and activity equipment to give children across the UK a better start in life. The grants help schools, children’s groups and wider community projects provide nutritious food and healthy activities that support young people’s physical and mental health, such as breakfast or snack clubs, as well as equipment for healthy activities.

* Survey completed by 1,589 respondents from the UK, from 3r & d From June to 9t June 2024