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Rights Groups Demand Improvement in Government Strategy for Feeding Vulnerable People

Supermarket structures are failing to support the systems needed to ensure no-one is left hungry

Food distribution during coronavirus isn’t working with UK supermarkets
A volunteer food parcel distribution centre at Alexandra Palace, north London
Victoria Jones/PA Images via Getty Images

Supermarket deliveries and free school meal vouchers aren’t cutting it

Consumer and disability rights groups have implored the government to revisit its coronavirus food distribution strategy, as concerns grow that vulnerable people are going hungry as systems fail to support need.

Consumer group Which?, best known for forensically scrutinising appliances, told the Guardian that over 1,000 people “who were either disabled, elderly or had illness that put them at risk of contracting Covid-19 and were having difficulties in getting grocery essentials.” This follows supermarket vouchers designed to replace free school meals inadvertently broadening food deserts, and U.K. food banks reporting precipitous peaks in uptake during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Supermarkets’ inability to cope with food delivery demand has been well publicised, with Tesco imploring customers to return to stores as soon as they could to alleviate the strain. The government, meanwhile, says it has delivered 900,000 food parcels via new and existing distribution networks in five weeks, but at 180,000 per week, that is some way short of the 1.5 million it identified as needing to shelter for 12 weeks in March. [Guardian]

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