'The fourth emergency service' – food aid is becoming the norm in schools

Food charity is becoming mainstream in state schools, ranging from discreet food parcels to food “sheds” in the playground and even larger scale food banks.
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Research involving the food aid work of 25 schools – primary and secondary, urban and rural – has shone a light on the extent of increasing food insecurity among families.

The University of Bristol study, which has been published in the British Educational Research Journal, found that most schools were supporting 15 to 20 families on a regular basis. However, several larger secondaries were supporting more than 40 families a week.

The food aid operations varied in size and structure. In some often smaller schools, it involved discreet food parcels given “under the radar” to parents and funded by staff donations. In others it consisted of larger scale, advertised regular provision with food supplied by large supermarkets and food waste charities.

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