Filling the hunger holiday gap

We are mid way through the summer holidays, and for some children it's not all fun and games at all. For these children the holidays are 6 weeks without a free school meal, which many rely on for their main nutritional meal of the day.  For parents, it can be a struggle to find extra money to pay for food.

Every sixth child in Brighton & Hove is living in poverty but in some wards this is as high as 1 in 3 (Director of Public Health report 2015).

Luckily, that's where Chomp steps in.

Chomp is a One Church Brighton initiative which provides a free hot nutritional meal for families during the school holidays.  Chomp has three clubs running this summer: in the city centre, Whitehawk and Moulsecoomb.

Between the three clubs there is something every weekday throughout August – including picnics in the park and family cooking courses.

Chomp clubs are about more than just feeding children that rely on free school meals. They help to reduce isolation and bring families together to gain skills and increase their confidence around food. Chomp provides a regular space for children to play and keep active, and also a friendly environment for children to try new foods and for parents to learn more about eating well on a budget. It's also an opportunity for precious family time, to eat and chat together.

Chomp clubs are run by volunteers and plan their menus with the families using food donated from Fareshare, as well as chicken donations from a well known chain – which goes down well!  They top up with fresh produce to ensure a balanced menu.

Chomp has been running for two years, in that time volunteers have given 2,000 hours to serve 2,000 meals to over a 100 families.

It's estimated that there are more than 10,000 children living in poverty in our city and so although these clubs are doing fantastic things, they are only reaching a small percentage of these children. The three current Chomp clubs are nearly at capacity. Chomp would like to open additional clubs in further deprived areas but need help.

How you can help

Donate

Chomp have an Amazon wish list. If you would like to directly help children and their families, they are in need of basic equipment.  They are also looking for sources of good quality food – in particular a sausage supplier!

You can also donate directly via My Donate

Volunteer

Chomp wouldn't be able to run without its great bunch of volunteers. They need more people during school holidays to support sessions. They are particularly looking for volunteers who could lead children's activities or organise games or crafts.

They are also looking for people to help behind the scenes with PR, webdesign and fundraising.  If you want to join their list of volunteers, contact Contact Amy at or call 01273 694746 for more information.

Work in partnership

Do you have a venue or club that could help host holiday sessions?  Do you work with low income families who would benefit from Chomp? Contact Amy at or call 01273 694746 for more information.

Actions to increase uptake of free school meals, to provide help for families during school holidays and to help people to volunteer on projects that address food poverty will all be included in the food poverty action plan that the Food Partnership is working on.