The Guardian is reporting that churches and community groups are launching schemes to provide children with free lunches to alleviate the burden on poor families through the summer.
“When people are living on a very marginal income, it doesn’t take much to knock them over,” said Dominic Black, the vicar of North Ormesby in Middlesbrough.
“We’ve noticed in the past few years, partly as a result of benefit changes and cuts, a huge increase in the number of families coming to us in the summer saying they can’t manage. Most of these are working families,” he said.
Free school meals are available to children at primary and secondary schools whose parents are receiving benefits or earn less than £16,190 a year. The recent school census showed there are more than 1.1 million children eligible and claiming free school meals in all state schools in England.
Black estimates that seven in 10 children in his area are entitled to free school meals. Local churches, supported by businesses and charities, will offer 5,000 meals over the summer as part of holiday activity clubs.
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