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Boxes of Hope - why families need our support more than ever
26th March 2020
With the launch of TLG’s Urgent Coronavirus Appeal, Beth Prescott, TLG's Policy Lead, writes on how children will be affected in the current climate and what you can do to help TLG provide vital support to families at this critical time.
This is an anxious time.
All of us will be wondering when it will be over. Many of us will have vulnerable family members or be so ourselves. Everyone will be missing friends and family, unsure when we will next be together.
For many of the families living with food insecurity, on top of all the above, they have never been more worried about where their next meal will come from.
With schools shut and the country in lockdown, we are incredibly concerned for the children we support who were already struggling.
For the 1.5 million children who receive Free School Meals, what happens now schools are closed?
For the 1 in 5 children in the UK who face food insecurity, what happens now their parents’ may also be facing job insecurity?
For the 1 in 3 parents from low income families who have skipped a meal so their children can eat during the school holidays, how will they feed their children during what would have been the Easter holidays?
We are grateful for the provisions the Government has put in place to allow schools to still provide food for those who rely on Free School Meals. However, the support many vulnerable families need is about so much more than this.
With other important structures provided by schools affected, such as breakfast clubs, thousands of families will still have been left without other critical support they rely on. With many vulnerable families trapped in their house day after day, support for their wellbeing is more vital than ever. With single-parent families left without access to other family members who help them with childcare, they will never have felt more isolated.
In all our programmes, TLG supports children and families who are particularly vulnerable. This means the contact we have with them is more critical than ever in these uncertain times. This is why TLG, along with our partner churches, is determined to keep reaching the children and families we support, no matter the circumstances.
We have worked quickly to adapt our programmes to ensure that no family is left hungry and alone at this time.
Our TLG Make Lunch Clubs, which offer hot and healthy meals for families during the school holidays, are unable to run in their current form during the Easter holidays. Instead, we are working with our partner churches to give emergency care packages to families in need – but we need your help.
At a time where many families will be worried about providing enough food for their children, including those on low incomes and those experiencing sudden job insecurity, our emergency care packages contain enough food supplies to feed a family of four for three days. From breakfast right through until bedtime, these packages will make sure that every member of the family is fed and no one is left without.
Food insecurity can have repercussions on more than just food. Across the UK, many families on a low income will make a daily choice between heating or eating – a choice that is even more burdensome as families are left inside their homes all day. Providing additional food for these families, means that they can prioritise paying for fuel to heat their homes and cook the food, so children are kept warm and fed.
Our emergency care packages are about so much more than just food. Many families struggling with food insecurity may also struggle to afford the basic essential household items which are ever more important at this time. As well as food supplies, our care packages will include essential household items such as soap and toiletries so no family is left without the necessities at this time.
We are all more conscious than ever about our emotional health and wellbeing. For families who were already experiencing turmoil, our emergency care packages provide not just for the practical needs, but also for the emotional wellbeing needs of the families in crisis. Our packages contain fun activities and wellbeing resources for all the family, as well information on other support they can access and messages of hope from our supporters. What may seem as something small, will go a long way to making a family feel less alone.
We have hundreds of faithful churches who partner with us across the UK. Churches are urgently stepping up and we aim to reach over 10,000 people with emergency care packages.
However, we need to raise £25,000 as quickly as possible to enable a rapid response to children who need it most. This is where we urgently need your help.
We know this is an anxious time for us all, but let us join together to help those who need our support the most.
This is a trying time. But we are relentless in our mission. We will not stop finding ways to give children a hope that goes beyond their circumstances. We hope you will join us.
Before coming to TLG, Beth worked as a Fundraising Project Manager for poverty-relief charity Christians Against Poverty. Beth also has expansive experience in the political sector. Beth is a season ticket holder at Huddersfield Town and enjoys hiking through the Yorkshire countryside followed by a local ale in the pub.