Breadline Voices: Parents relying on school food bank to help feed their children

Clare Cunningham

Claire Cunningham is deputy head of Parkfield Primary School in the Hendon area of London. She explains what prompted staff to set up a food bank to help parents feed their children

"At Parkfield, we've been running this all the way through Covid. I suppose in a way we expected the numbers to drop off [after the pandemic]. At a peak we were doing over 100 boxes, but we’re still currently doing about 90 to 95 boxes a week.

"We're seeing new parents signing up, parents we would never have imagined may have needed us before and they are certainly signing up and coming along.

"I think the lovely thing is there’s no stigma attached here. We don’t put it, whether you’re Free School Meals, or anything else, if you need a box just sign your name up and come along.

"And I think that’s down to the team that give it out during the week as well. They chat away and talk to the parents and we get to know a little bit more about their circumstances. It kind of opens a doorway to them all.

Video courtesy of City Harvest London

"Things have changed, we’ve just seen this whole economic problem at the moment. No wages are going up and everything else is going up.

"Our parents are delighted that we are still doing it and at no time have they said, 'stop' or anything. We are still getting thanks for doing it. So as long as our parents need it, we will carry on doing it.

"One of the nicest things we’ve got to know about City Harvest and all their deliveries, is their wonderful drivers, especially Jose.

"Jose has become part of the family here at Parkfield and every Thursday when he’s here, he arrives with a huge smile, he loves what he does and he’s just so good with the children who help, even unpack the van. He’s an absolute credit to City Harvest and what we’re all about, feeding our families."

  • The content of this blog was created by City Harvest London as part of its City Speaks Up initiative, which aims to highlight the impact of food poverty and the cost of living crisis.

This is part of Breadline Voices, a series from The Food Foundation highlighting the realities faced by millions of families plunged into food and fuel poverty as food prices reach a 40-year high.

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