A NEW food delivery service to help families hardest hit by the coronavirus outbreak is aiming to feed 350 children every day in Glasgow’s east end.

PEEK-A-CHEW, which will also be providing food and wellbeing hampers, has been set up by Possibilities for Each and Every Kid, which has been tackling child poverty in the city and beyond for 20 years.

“This has been a dream project for us for around six years, and we were planning to use it for the school holidays,” explained chief executive Michaela Collins.

“The need is so great, we had to launch it now.”

More than £6000 has been raised in a JustGiving appeal by the charity so far.

“Food has always played a role in the services we deliver, from breakfast clubs in schools to family workshops, but it has always depended upon access to school kitchens or community halls and there is a cost attached to that,” said Michaela. “This will help us reach families most in need.”

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Michaela attended PEEK when she was just nine years old. Over the last two decades, it has grown into a respected charity working hard to improve the life chances of children and young people across Scotland through play and creative learning.

Michaela said: “Now that the schools are closed, we are focussing on making sure young people get fed. Many families depend on the free school meal system, and this will put a huge pressure on them. Asylum-seeking families, for example, who have no recourse to public funds and cannot access benefits, rely on these meals for their children.

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“We have heard from families at breaking point- parents who have been made redundant, or who are on zero hours contracts and now have no work, and who are suddenly finding themselves plunged into the Universal Credit system,” she said.

“Because of panic buying, they can’t get enough food, and they are worried about paying rent and bills. Some are even considering loan sharks and we have been pleading with them not to go down that route. This could be absolutely horrendous for some families.”

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She added: “As well as delivering food and essential items, we are working with people to give them access to IT and advice on how to negotiate the complicated benefits system, which can suffer from delays and red tape. It is uncertain times for us all, but for some families, already struggling to cope, they will end up more stuck than ever.”

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Times and dates of where the Peek-a-Chew van will be over the coming days will be published on PEEK’s website and social media pages. To donate visit www.justgiving.com/campaign/PEEK-A-CHEW

“I have never seen anything like this in 20 years,” added Michaela. “Families are desperate. The saying that most people are one pay cheque away from poverty has never been truer and it is a huge wake-up call for our society.”