Jamie Oliver has campaigned hard to bring healthier meals into schools, and cutting back on sugar within kids food. This should be applauded – for obvious reasons. His latest crusade, for me, seems a step too far..

What is it?

On last Friday‘s ‘Jamie and Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast‘ – Jamie set his eyes on ‘Holiday Hunger’. He explained that whilst infant children, and children whose parents are on benefits get free school meals. Come the school holidays some children go hungry, because their parents can’t afford to feed them at home.

Holiday Hunger – A solution?

His solution was, uhm interesting. Keep the school kitchens open and feed the hungry children. He explained this could be done cheaply by having staff volunteer, and using end of life food from supermarkets.

Whilst the concept is a noble one – in my opinion – it’s a bit fucking ridiculous. Our schools are stretched SO much at the moment, budgets are tight, and staff are charged with more responsibility than ever before. I think it’s a step too far to charge them with responsibility to feed their pupils in the school holidays too. Whilst he suggested how it could be staffed, and food provided – there would still have to be energy used lighting, heating, and cooking. All of this costs money, and would eat away even more at already stretched resources.

There is no denying that people struggle, and ‘Holiday Hunger’ is an issue. But it’s not the fault of schools, and the onus shouldn’t be on them to ‘fix’ it. Benefits for those who need them have been cut, and the problem is there. People can’t afford to feed their children. That is the main issue here.

Whilst the woman shown who had a household of eight to feed, but couldn’t, didn’t really garner much sympathy from me. There were others who I felt sorry for.

Jamie tries to tackle Holiday Hunger
Jamie tries to tackle Holiday Hunger

What can be done?

It’s hard really, it’s clear those who need benefits don’t always get them, or enough – whilst others playing the system taking everything they can. Jamie, to his credit did show an interesting idea of selling the ‘end of life’ food to people, so they can have a super cheap meal. There is a lot of wastage in supermarkets with overly cautious ‘best before’ dates. This is GOOD food that could sold at heavily discounted prices. Combined with guidance from a decent chef (Hi Jamie!) the potential to create cheap, healthy meals is there.

We can’t deny or ignore ‘Holiday Hunger’ but – we can’t ask our education system to fix it. We need every penny they have spent on teaching our children and shaping their future. It’s not their responsibility to feed our children during the school holidays – it’s ours, as parents.

We can’t ignore Holiday Hunger, but we need those in power to fix it, not those in the education system.

13 thoughts on “Jamie Oliver – Holiday Hunger – A campaign too far…?

  1. Jane Willis says:

    One cause of holiday hunger is that some parents who rely on food banks don’t like to claim during the school holidays, for fear that their children will realise that’s where their food is coming from. I really don’t know what the answer to that one is, except that if our welfare state worked properly the problem wouldn’t be there in the first place 🙁

    • Sarah says:

      My husband and I decided to stop at 2 children because we felt we could only afford the financial cost and the time to provide for 2 children. We hoped this would mean they would have the best chance to hopefully do well in their own lives. I would have really loved to have had more children, but we couldn’t afford to. We both have to work to pay the mortgage and the food bills. I couldn’t take additional time off work to have more babies. That’s life. It’s what my parents taught me and what I have taught my children. Feeding a family doesn’t have to be expensive. It just takes time, forward planning and effort.

  2. ********* says:

    Holiday hunger !!! I bet the parents have mobile phones and drive a car, give the really needy a voucher for the supermarket
    to buy proper food for the parent/carer to cook .

  3. Assasss aaaass says:

    Holiday hunger !!! I bet the parents have mobile phones and drive a car, give the really needy a voucher for the supermarket
    to buy proper food for the parent/carer to cook .

  4. Assasss aaaass says:

    Holiday hunger. Most parents have mobile phone and drive a car !! Feed your child !!! Give the really needy voucher for super market and give advice on best way for nutritional meal to be cooked . Why should it be a baby sitting service !!

  5. Assasss aaaass says:

    Also when these services are provided it is not British families who use this service. It is usually east Europeans who abuse it .

  6. Karen says:

    Aah…the old Britain First card, eh?
    Us Brits are made of finer fettle. We don’t need your free pesky nutritious dinners.
    The needy foreigners again. #sarcasm

  7. Marc Hill says:

    I watched this with some skepticism. The school staff work hard all year round and it’s unfair to expect them to volunteer in the holidays.

    Also, I noticed that both the parents and kids who complained of skipping meals and not having enough money to afford food, were overweight. (Look back if you don’t believe me).

    I’m as woolly a liberal as they come, but people have to take responsibility. I know it’s tough. There are times in my life when I’ve had very little, but you have to take responsibility and work it out. I like Jamie, he’s very well meaning and a great chef.

  8. Steph unknown says:

    How can schools take any more pressure. Staff being made to take term time only contracts and needing to work in holidays. Teaches being punished when children can’t learn because they have no boundaries and have been socialised by the media and parents who are also mislead or on paths involving poor choices. When does the nanny state stop and the responsibility for life choices be learned by society like our parents and grandparents. It’s gone too far when people feel so entitled that the holiday dinner table is someone else’s problem. I am dismayed when I hear children increasingly vocalise their helpless and blameless lives on other people not doing anything for them. It’s gone too far. This tokenism and surface publication of issues which in reality are far far bigger than jamies portrayal of the financial implications is going to empower helplessnes, ignore the growing problems surrounding appropriate use of state benefits, prevent proper structure when considering food waste and put a water soluble sticking plaster on a gaping long term wound among the de skilled general family makeup contained in communities across the country.
    I want jamie to provide the portion sizes in his restaurants that you see in the show highlighting this issue. If he declared the profit margins from his chain when accounting for overheads and salaries and then encouraged volunteers to feed the hungry from these locations perhaps sincerity not sensationslistic budget guzzling plans which will damage a schools ability to fullfill measured priorities would be better represented.

  9. Anna Edwards says:

    I really struggle with this, the mothers interviewed were grossly overweight and so was one of the children. I do understand that there are some individuals and families that struggle to get the benefits they are entitled to. However a large section of the welfare state is bloated with those who won’t take responsibility for themselves, tresponsibility for their own children and their decision to have child after child.

    Part of the issue is the system, it is set up to reward people to have more and more children, as they get increased child benefit and child tax credit. I would be happy to see a system that doesn’t fail anyone but that also stops paying out money for extra children. Until then, the problem will persist as it is just unaffordable. We have one child and are both high rate tax payers but took the responsibility of having a child as a life time commitment.

  10. Pingback: Bloggers Beware - Kip Hakes

  11. noneofurbiz says:

    There are some serious racist comments in here! and I am gussing the big boy who wrote this article works in a school kitchen and just does not want to work harder because his a lazy excuse of a “man” lol loser

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.