Children in schools throughout Tipperary are going hungry every day because of a food poverty crisis according to a leading St.Vincent de Paul officer.
Clonmel man Kieran Stafford, who is the national vice president of St.Vincent de Paul, said food poverty was one of the biggest issues they had to deal with.
“There are children, probably who have skipped breakfast, going into school with not enough items in their lunch to cover two breaks and I know that in schools throughout Tipperary and all over the country, children are approaching teachers telling them that they have nothing to eat,” said Kieran Stafford. The Vincent de Paul he said are involved in backing up supplies of food to schools to cover the situation.
“This highlights the extent of food poverty.It is really worrying that people are cutting back on food so they can cover other bills- we are seeing more and more people coming to us looking for food,” he said.
“A lot of the bargins advertised by supermarkets offer processed food with little nutritional value , while fresh food are usually not on offer which leads to significant health issues.”
He said the food poverty issue was reflected in the recent Irish League of Credit Unions survey which showed that families are struggling with financial demands with four in ten adults putting off paying essential bills on time as they do not have the money.It showed more adults are sacrificing the amount they spend on food to pay other bills.The survey showed that almost half of adults have just €25 or less a week to live on once they had paid essential bills.Kieran Stafford said that people on social welfare and the middle income families were under massive pressure.
“The middle income are buried already they have nothing left to give. They have to pay for everything and are entitled to nothing” said Kieran Stafford who pleaded with the government not to make any cuts that would impact on social welfare and middle income families in the up-coming budget.“They simply just have nothing more to give at this stage,” he said.