Children in Leicester on benefits-related free school meals won’t miss out over the October half-term break, thanks to a holiday food programme that’s supported by Company Shop and Leicester-based Samworth Brothers.
The city council has teamed up with the surplus retailer and the food manufacturer to provide eligible families with fruit, vegetables, milk, bread and store cupboard essentials to ensure children have some breakfast, lunch and dinner options over half-term.
Once they’ve registered and selected a timed ‘shopping’ slot, families will be able to collect their food from one of six pop-up community pantries that will be set up at sites across the city – including local schools, a leisure centre and the King Power stadium.
Each site will be open at specified times on one day between Wednesday 11 October and Monday 16 October.
Families will be able to select a good food hamper and additional items from the community pantry, choosing food that their child likes to eat up to a value of around £25.
Deputy city mayor Cllr Sarah Russell, who leads the city council’s anti-poverty agenda, said: “The cost of living today means more and more people are being pushed to crisis point.
“We don’t want to see families having to rely on initiatives like these pop-up pantries, and it’s not acceptable that families find themselves in this position, but while there’s a need for this kind of support, we’ll provide it.
“Around 15,000 children and young people in Leicester are eligible for free school meals and it’s vital that they don’t miss out on a meal when the schools are closed, so I hope that our pop-up pantries will make life a little easier for many local families.
“I’d like to thank Samworth Brothers and Company Shop for helping us support thousands of young people and their families once again this half-term, and I’d also like to thank the volunteers who give up their time to help staff our six community pantries.
“Eligible families who have been contacted by their child’s school should now make sure they register for the half-term scheme by Tuesday 26 September.”
The October half-term food scheme is offered to families who have children who:
- receive benefits-related free school meals
- are at full-time school (aged 4 to 16)
- live in Leicester (or attend a city school, if they live outside of Leicester)
More information and a link to the registration form is available at families.leicester.gov.uk/holiday-food-offer