Food voucher scheme for students at Jewish schools extended until June
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Food voucher scheme for students at Jewish schools extended until June

Initiative which has provided more than 800 children with support has been renewed thanks to funding from Genesis Philanthropy Group and the Wohl Foundation

Picture of pupils enjoying school dinners at a Primary School.
Picture of pupils enjoying school dinners at a Primary School.

A programme that has provided more than 800 children at Jewish schools with food vouchers to help alleviate the financial burden of the pandemic has been extended until June 2021.

The programme, run by Partnerships for Jewish Schools (PaJes), which provides services, support and strategy to Jewish schools, was initiated just before schools closed for the winter break in December 2020.

With funding from Genesis Philanthropy Group and the Wohl Foundation, the programme is open to all pupils who are registered for free school meals, in primary and secondary schools from across the religious spectrum.

One recipient of these vouchers told Jewish News that it was “absolutely amazing” and a “complete surprise to me and the family” to receive an email on Wednesday morning saying she was getting two food vouchers towards her shopping.

The mother of four, who wish to remain anonymous, said that that it was “a really lovely feeling to think there is an organisation out there who wants to help.”

For her, the contribution towards a food shop “goes a long way” especially “four kids at home who all want to snack all the time. Every penny really counts,” she said.

She said that life is particularly hard at the moment as both her and her husband are out of work.

Rashford’s #EndChildFoodPoverty campaign highlighted that 2.3 million children in the UK experienced food insecurity between March and August 2020. According to an Institute for Jewish Policy Research (JPR) study published in October 2020, one in six Jewish households is either already in serious hardship following the pandemic, or highly vulnerable to becoming so.

Rabbi David Meyer, Executive Director of PaJeS, said: “In what has been a very difficult year, the financial pressures felt by families across the UK are greater than ever. Within our own Jewish schools’ network, we want to do what we can to provide vital food assistance to help alleviate the strain that families are under. We are grateful to the funders across the community who responded with speed and generosity ensuring that we could roll out this provision.”

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