Funding needed to tackle ‘holiday hunger’ – Mullan

Sinn Féin Education spokesperson Karen Mullan has called for funding to be made available to tackle holiday hunger in the coming months.

Commenting as the school summer holiday period approaches the Foyle MLA said: “Over the last 12 months I have met with a number of stakeholders and department officials to press them around the issue of children entitled to free school meals going hungry during the holiday periods.

“Childhood hunger is a reality and during the summer holiday period up to 100,000 children are missing out on their free school meal.  Families, already struggling financially, are hit over the summer period because of the additional costs for extra food and summer activities.

“There are community projects doing great work in addressing the issue of holiday hunger and providing summer activities for children throughout the holiday period.

“I have called on the relevant officials in the Executive Office and other departments to make funding available to community projects in delivering these supports.

“The links between educational underachievement and deprivation are well known and the evidence suggests that children returning to school can often be weeks or months intellectually behind classmates who have access to a more wholesome diet during the holidays.”