FEARS have been raised children in the district could be going hungry over the summer holidays.
Stratford Foodbank provides more than 160 food parcels a month with a quarter of those going to children. This figure has consistently risen to around 16 parcels for youngsters each month.
But while the children are enjoying some time off, fears have been raised they could be going hungry without access to free school lunches and breakfast clubs.
The Stratford Foodbank data reflects national figures published by foodbank founders The Trussell Trust, revealing an increase of 4,500 in emergency food supplies given to children during July and August in comparison to May and June.
The charity is now calling for action.
Spokewoman Samantha Stapley said: “As a nation we also must address the reasons why families with children are referred to foodbanks in the first place.
“We welcome government’s decision to maintain free school lunches for children during term time – the next step must be to help families during the holidays.
“Foodbanks are doing more than ever before but voluntary organisations alone cannot stop primary school children facing hunger. We are keen to share our insights with the government alongside other charities to inform a long-term coordinated solution to stop families falling into crisis.”
And after a busy summer, Stratford Foodbank is appealing to residents to help re-stock its shelves in time for winter
Manager Marion Homer said: “The people of Stratford have been overwhelmingly generous to the foodbank. Every tin donated and every minute spent volunteering really does make a difference to those facing crisis.
“Unfortunately, we have seen a significant increase in use this year and some months we give away more food than we receive. However, we are fortunate that the community always responds to our appeals and our service remains viable.”
The public can make food donations through foodbank collection points in Morisons, Waitrose, Tesco and Holy Trinity Church. Typical donations include tinned food, instant mash and rice, custard and long-life milk.
Visit stratforduponavon.foodbank.org.uk to find out more.