1 in 4 Teachers Bring Food to School to Support Hungry Children as UK's Edible Food Waste Soars
With the new school year just around the corner, new research has revealed that more teachers than ever are being forced to personally provide food to students due to welfare concerns. Yet a staggering 3 million tonnes of good-to-eat food is still going to waste on UK farms every year.
- A survey of 9,000 teachers in England has found that one in four brought food into school out of concern for hungry pupils
- Over a third said their school regularly provides food support to children and their families, with nearly half doing so in the most deprived areas of the country
- The survey was conducted by food waste charity FareShare, which provides food to 2,000 charity and community breakfast, after school, and holiday clubs to children and young people
- FareShare is struggling to keep up with skyrocketing demand to support their charities, yet 3 million tonnes of edible food goes to waste on UK farms every year
- FareShare is calling on the Government to fund food surplus redistribution to get good food to people, not waste here
The survey also found:
- There is a nine percentage point increase in teachers bringing in their own food for children in more deprived areas compared to affluent areas
- The South West region had the highest percentage, with 29.4% of teachers bringing in food for children
- 35% of teachers said their school already provides food in this situation, with this figure rising to nearly 50% in the most deprived areas of the country
“We are in a deprived area so we see the struggles some of our families are going through. The staff have been known to give up their food, or purchase food for a child, when they have come into the setting hungry or they have little to no lunch in their lunch bag. We also support our families by signposting to a charity we work closely with, who open a food pantry every weekend, as well as being able to issue foodbank vouchers.“We are extremely fortunate to be part of FareShare, and other similar programmes, where we collect surplus food to give out to our families. Since the cost of living crisis began, this has become more of a need for some families, rather than an extra top up to their shopping. We are seeing more and more people needing that little bit more help.”
"Over the summer, staff and volunteers at FareShare have been working tirelessly to get more edible surplus food out to people who need it, as parents have faced the added burden of childcare costs and soaring food bills while their children are out of school. But despite these efforts, we still do not have enough food to meet skyrocketing demand, and teachers across the country feel they have no choice but to step in to help hungry children. Our teachers should be teaching, not forced to fill the gap because the Government stands by and allows this to happen all the while food goes to waste on farms. Food that could be going to the millions of children and families facing food insecurity. A new school term will undoubtedly bring huge demand for our services. We need to see the Government act urgently and show that it takes tackling hunger seriously."