FAMILIES living in seaside towns are set to be given a helping hand during the summer school holidays in a bid to combat food poverty among young children.

Kind-hearted and generous residents in Walton, Frinton, and Clacton, are being encouraged to donate items to their local Co-op supermarkets.

The six-week campaign drive has been set in motion after research carried out by Feeding Britain found as many as three million children could go hungry this summer.

Some of those children are based much closer to home, in the likes of Walton and Frinton, and run the risk of holiday hunger just as much other parts of the country.

It is, therefore, hoped the initiative will provide further support to the likes of the Walton and District Community Food Bank.

In recent months, the Tendring organisation has, at times, been struggling to keep up with demand following the economic fallout of the coronavirus.

But its services and ever-dwindling stash of food have never been more needed, not least by parents of children struggling afford food this summer.

Throughout the pandemic, for example, the Walton Food Bank has been supplying food items to the Letterbox Day Nursery and the Walton Pre-School each week.

Jill Joshua, secretary for the Walton Food Bank said: “We have always been there to support local families throughout the whole year, especially during the school holidays.

“Not only do families have extra meals to find, but the extra cost of home utilities, travel costs and entertainment.

“Our coordinator, Jane Robinson, has long felt that many children have suffered food poverty during holidays, especially through the long summer holiday.

“The government should look into ways of tackling this problem, but the situation doesn’t just effect families on benefits, but those on low incomes too.”

The Walton Food Bank has now joined forces with the town’s Co-op supermarket in a bid to alleviate holiday hunger this summer.

In turn, the food bank has since invited Walton parents whose children attend local pre-schools to visit the supermarket to receive food parcels throughout the holiday.

Further down the coast, in Clacton, school teachers and community groups have stepped in to help relieve some of the pressure on the town’s food bank.

In May, The Rotary Club of Clacton Jubilee handed £500 over to the Clacton Food Bank after it saw a 230 per cent increase in demand compared to the same month in 2019.

Staff at Clacton Coastal Academy also launched their own in-house food bank, in a bid to supply parents struggling during the pandemic with meals and essentials.

“It has been incredibly successful, the generosity of people is overwhelming, and our staff room looks like a Tesco Express,” said interim head teacher, Mrs Jo Cookson.

“This service is open to any of our families who need support and orders are taken daily and deliveries are made every afternoon.

“We have secured a £1000 grant from the Essex Community Covid-19 Fund so we can continue to support our families throughout the summer and beyond.”

To find out more visit facebook.com/WaltonFoodBank or eastofengland.coop.