Over 50% rise in families seeking food support from Barnardos

Mini shoppers and siblings Seamus O’Brien, age 5 and Lauren O’Brien, age 6 help Aldi’s group managing director Niall O’Connor and Barnardos CEO Suzanne Connolly

Surge in demand for child food supports expected to double as Barnardos launches a new partnership with Aldi Ireland to raise €1 million

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27 October 2020 | 0

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A recent survey carried out in Barnardos services shows an increase in demand for food support for families since the onset of Covid-19. The news comes as Barnardos today announces a new two-year partnership with Aldi Ireland to raise €1 million for vulnerable young children across Ireland.

Children’s charity Barnardos said its services currently show an anticipated 57% increase in need from families seeking help with food supports for their children in the coming months. The surge in demand for child food supports follows earlier research by Barnardos which revealed that 35% of families with young children increased spending on food in the period March – June 2020 as the pandemic took hold in Ireland.

Text to support

Barnardos is calling on Aldi customers to help vulnerable families experiencing food poverty to donate €4 by texting ‘BARNARDOS’ to 50300 or by visiting Barnardos.ie/Aldi and making a donation online*. Pledging as little as €4 can help Barnardos to provide a hot dinner and access to specialised care for a child in a Barnardos after-school club.

Aldi states its commitment to raise €1 million for the charity will be delivered through a two-year programme of staff, store, customer and community fundraising initiatives supported by the company. All funds raised will go directly to Barnardos Early Years and Family Support Programmes, enabling the charity to provide the 10,000 warm meals to children who attend its centres in addition to funding other key services. Each year, more than 21,000 vulnerable and at-risk families and young children benefit from the services provided by Barnardos.

Since March and the onset of Covid-19 restrictions in Ireland, Barnardos has experienced a substantial increase in the number of young families seeking help to meet basic meal requirements. Since the onset of the pandemic, the charity has provided 7,250 food parcels and 9,620 hot meals to families unable to access nutritious, good quality food for their children. A number of parents have also told Barnardos that they have been eating smaller, or fewer meals, because they are worried their family won’t have enough food.

Siobhan Greene, director of Barnardos Children’s Services, reported the charity had experienced a 30% rise in referrals to its services since the pandemic began. “At the start of the crisis, we were able to immediately respond to their needs in a practical way,” she said, “by providing food and basic essentials and by offering support regarding understanding and managing the emotional impact of this challenging time. As we progress through the next stage of the crisis, we are expecting to see further significant demands for our services from children and families who are struggling to cope.”

‘Equal access’

Niall O’Connor, Aldi Ireland’s group managing director, said Barnados’ work to support vulnerable families and children reflects the group’s values. “As a family retailer, Aldi has always championed equal access to affordable and nutritious food through initiatives such as Super 6 to give families on a budget quality, fresh ingredients at the lowest prices,” O’Connor said.

“However, some families need extra help and support, and that is where Barnardos and Aldi come in,” he continued. “Our partnership will deliver €1 million for the charity over two years, helping to provide 10,000 warm meals to vulnerable children at their centres and a range of other essential supports.”

Major issue in Ireland

“Our research and experience on the ground shows that childhood food poverty is a major issue in Ireland, which has been further exacerbated by the pandemic,” said Suzanne Connolly, CEO, Barnardos.

“Aldi has shown the importance of making good quality food accessible to all and as we head into winter we are confident that the monies raised will make a real difference to the lives of young children who are particularly at risk at this time,” Connolly added.

*(Text costs €4. Barnardos will receive a minimum of €3.60. Service Provider: LIKECHARITY. Helpline: 076 6805278.)

 

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