One third of parents in Connacht are worried about being able to put food on the for their children.
The study published by Barnados and Aldi found that 6% of parents in Connacht feel that their families are close to food poverty.
The findings of the research, which was carried out by Amárach Research on behalf of Barnardos and Aldi Ireland, has stark findings about the prevalence of food poverty in the west, and across Ireland.
Families are particularly affected, with 7% of parents and people caring for children saying that they will skip meals in average week in order to ensure the children get to eat.
Counting those who only “occasionally” have to skip eating themselves, this goes up to one in five child carers in Connacht.
Nearly half of parents in Connacht said that they had cut down in spending in other areas such as household and medical bills, loan repayments, and transport to afford food.
This figure rose to more than three in five among people who were out of work at the time.
Suzanne Connolly, CEO Barnardos said “These research findings align with Barnardos experience of working with vulnerable children and families in communities across Ireland.”
“We see far too many families, often one parent families, deprived of access to fundamental life essentials such as food and heat.”
“Parents tell us of the very difficult decisions they are forced to make to keep their family fed, by either going without a meal themselves, or needing to turn off their heating in order buy food – with one respondent saying they feel like a failure.”
This can have devastating emotional and physical impacts, both on the children, and those responsible for their care, who can often feel as though they have let them down.
One third of parents in Connacht are worried about not being able to provide food for their children, and 30% said that they felt “guilty” about the situation.
With nearly 3 in 10 people witnessing child food poverty first-hand, the long-lasting impact of this on children was also observed.
Three quarters of those who witnessed child food poverty first-hand noticed an impact on the child’s physical development, while a similarly high number saw how it affected their social and emotional development.
Food poverty also affected the child’s education (65%) and ability to maintain relationships (44%).
“We know that a child who is hungry, cannot concentrate which is why food is such a key part of many of Barnardos services,” Suzanne Connolly added.
“Our partnership with Aldi Ireland allows us to support families where access to food and the impact that has on a family, is a very real problem.”
Niall O’Connor, Group Managing Director of Aldi Ireland added: “As a family retailer, Aldi has always championed access to affordable and nutritious food for all Irish families.
“With two thirds of people spending up to half of their income on food costs, our role in keeping prices low and affordable becomes even more important.”
Aldi established a long-term partnership with Barnardos in 2020 with the aim of raising €1 million for the children’s charity, of which €450,000 has been raised to date.
To support Barnardos’ services to vulnerable children and families in Ireland, Aldi customers can text KIDS to 50300 to donate €4
[Text costs €4. Barnardos will receive a minimum of €3.60. Service Provider: LIKECHARITY. Helpline: 01 481 9311.].