Actor and activist Michael Sheen has joined a call urging people to donate food items to the Summer Support for Kids campaign.
Launched by the Central England Co-operative, the campaign is asking the Government to take further action to tackle holiday hunger.
The retail society started the campaign in response to research by FareShare Midlands, which shows that 1,163,134 children are currently living in poverty and face being impacted by food poverty across the 16 counties it trades in. According to the study, only 25% of these are accessing any kind of support such as free school meal vouchers.
Central England customers wishing to support the campaign can drop off food items at their local store, which are then collected by local food banks and turned into meals for children who would normally be enjoying free school meals.
Mr Sheen, who is also the founder of End High Cost Credit, a campaign promoting affordable lending, tweeted: “Please back this worthwhile campaign by Central England Co-op and help our co-operative community make a difference this summer and beyond.”
Dontions can include staples such as tea, sugar and cereals as well as other essentials such as toiletries and hygiene products. Other products needed include drinks for children, sun cream and after sun, small arts and crafts items such as crayons and paints, as well as school supplies such as pencil cases and stationery. The appeal will last until September.
Society president Elaine Dean said: “I’m delighted that such a prestigious actor as Michael Sheen is backing our Summer Support for Kids campaign. I was honoured to meet him at Co-op Congress in 2017 where he was a delegate from South Wales.
“He is a true co-operator who has never forgotten his working class roots despite the accolades which have come his way after playing iconic figures like Brian Clough and Tony Blair.”
In addition to enabling customers to donate to foodbanks, Central England has also donated £100,000 to its food redistribution partner FareShare Midlands. The funding will help to provide food and resources and pay for over 365,000 meals for youngsters over the summer months.
The retailer says it will also continue to campaign for changes in government policy.