Beth posted this on Facebook and I though it worth a different audience. Copied and pasted, typos and all. No editing whatsoever.
"There have always been hungry kids.
15 years ago, one of the best things I found, working with six year olds, was that they generally did not have a well developed sense of shame. Therefore a hungry child would tell you, or act out in such a way that necessitated a quiet 'is something on your mind' chat, and then they'd tell you they hadn't had breakfast. Or dinner the night before. Or they had, but not nearly enough.
Many is the time I would mop up a tear or three, then hot foot it along to the canteen to beg a slice of bread and marg to keep them going until school dinners, with the inevitable big chunk of cakey stodge and custard to fill them up.
After that I worked with the ten year olds. By ten, they wouldnt tell you any more. Their pride and shame wouldnt allow it. That didnt make them any less hungry, of course. Didnt mean it wasnt happening.
And yes, there were those few children who were perpetually neglected. But I also realised that, quite often, there were families who had just fallen on difficult times. A benefit delay, a change of circumstance, a sick relative and bus fares to the hospital to pay for, a lack of work for a contractor... all these could lead to shortages. Those families were there at the end of school with a big smile and a wave, always there for parents evenings etc... these weren't feckless individuals, they were people struggling, people who needed help. A judgeypants attitude was missing the point.
People are losing their jobs all over the place. Every new job has hundreds of applicants. Universal credit, which wasnt fit for purpose beforehand, frankly, are drowning under the weight of new applications. They havent hassled me for months, too busy with new applicants! And delays are built into the system; I have already shared that Universal Credit left me with no money for ten weeks last year, that was three lots of rent etc to find. I used all my savings, sold some stuff and mum bought me essential shopping when I still fell short, but not everyone is that lucky. And I did not have a child at home by that stage.
Fast forward to now and a whole load of people are facing short term but severe shortages of money. Parents being useless is not the problem, parents struggling financially in the middle of a pandemic- induced recession with high unemployment and a failing benefit system is.
There are more hungry kids, now. Probably short term, but happening now. And for whatever reason, it's wrong. Even if it is a case of parental ineptitude, or neglect, is that a reason to turn a blind eye? No child deserves to go hungry because of the circumstances or failings of its parent.
Just feed the bloody children, Boris. "