Demand for child food supports rose sharply between March and June and is expected to be even more acute in the coming months.
Demand from families seeking help with food supports for their children in Ireland is anticipated to rise by almost 60% in the coming months, according to a survey by Barnardos.
The children’s charity said that its services currently show an anticipated 57% increase in families seeking child food support over the next few months.
This comes on the back of research by Barnardos showing that 35% of families with young children increased spending on food between the months of March and June, when the Covid-19 pandemic first impacted on Ireland.
The results of the Barnardos survey come as the charity announced a new two-year partnership with Aldi Ireland to raise €1 million for vulnerable young children across the country.
Barnardos is calling on Aldi customers to help vulnerable families experiencing food poverty to donate €4* by texting ‘BARNARDOS’ to 50300 or by visiting Barnardos.ie/Aldi and making a donation online.
Barnardos says that pledging as little as €4 can help provide a hot dinner and access to specialised care for a child in a Barnardos after-school club.
Aldi says its commitment to raise €1 million for the charity will be delivered through a two-year programme of staff, store, customer and community fundraising initiatives supported by the company.
All monies raised will go directly to Barnardos Early Years and Family Support Programmes, enabling the charity to provide 10,000 warm meals to children who attend its centres, in addition to funding other key services.
Each year, more than 21,000 vulnerable and at-risk families and young children benefit from the services provided by Barnardos.
Since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in March, Barnardos has provided 7,250 food parcels and 9,620 hot meals to families unable to access nutritious, good quality food for their children. A number of parents have also told Barnardos that they have been eating smaller, or fewer meals, because they are worried their family won’t have enough food.
Commenting on the partnership with Aldi, Siobhan Greene, Director of Barnardos Children’s Services, said: “Barnardos has experienced an increase in families seeking help during the coronavirus pandemic with a 30% rise in referrals to our services.
“At the start of the crisis, we were able to immediately respond to their needs in a practical way by providing food and basic essentials and by offering support regarding understanding and managing the emotional impact of this challenging time.
“As we progress through the next stage of the crisis, we are expecting to see further significant demands for our services from children and families who are struggling to cope.”
More information is available on the Barnardos website.
*Text costs €4. Barnardos will receive a minimum of €3.60. Service Provider: LIKECHARITY. Helpline: 076 6805278.