As the impact of the pandemic hit families, homes and schools last year, and children could not access healthy meals at school during lockdown, Amazon and Magic Breakfast expanded their partnership to provide schoolchildren at risk of hunger with a healthy breakfast.
Amazon and Magic Breakfast have now delivered more than five million free, healthy breakfasts to children at their homes across the UK since May 2020.
Last year, research from YouGov highlighted the extent of the challenges faced around child nutrition and the impact of hunger on children’s learning during the pandemic. More than half of all teachers surveyed by YouGov reported concerns about an anticipated rise in hunger among children returning to school, while 74 per cent reported that school breakfasts would help children catch up on learning.
The YouGov research also highlighted holiday hunger as a key issue in learning development, as 57 per cent of surveyed teachers noticed disadvantaged pupils falling behind academically after the summer holidays.
This is why Magic Breakfast and Amazon will help tackle ‘holiday hunger’ by continuing provision of free breakfasts to children at home. Magic Breakfast estimates that 35,000 children from 671 schools will receive a breakfast via the partnership over the summer holidays.
We spoke to Shafiya Shah, Corporate Partnerships Manager for Magic Breakfast, who shared feedback from teachers and parents and explained how the partnership is impacting on young lives.
Five million meals milestone
With lockdowns in effect, children could not enjoy the healthy breakfast they would normally receive at school from Magic Breakfast to give them the fuel they need to concentrate and learn. With Amazon's help, Magic Breakfast adapted its model so children from partner schools could continue to access their Magic Breakfast through the Amazon Logistics network.
Since 2020, [Magic Breakfast] has doubled the number of schools and tripled the number of children we work with.
A dedicated team in Amazon’s Milton Keynes fulfilment centre packs up the parcels of breakfast food – sourced from generous partners and suppliers of the charity – before sending them out for delivery to children’s homes.
Shafiya explains that the charity had to move quickly to help those in need: “The last year has been a period of rapid accelerated growth in the demand and scale of our services. Since 2020, we have doubled the number of schools and tripled the number of children we work with. With Amazon’s logistics network we have now delivered five million meals to vulnerable children.”
“This is a remarkable milestone, which would have been impossible without support from Amazon,” she adds.
The partnership was also shortlisted by the Business Charity Awards for Best Covid-19 Support Project, in recognition of the support provided in the wake of school closures.
“Thank you for the support”
One Headteacher of a school supported by Magic Breakfast in North East England spoke of the impact these meals had created for their pupils: “Even with free meal vouchers, breakfast was still a big issue for many of our pupils. We were over the moon when Magic Breakfast allowed us to get healthy breakfasts out to the families in their homes via home deliveries or take-home packs.”
Children in my school are more settled, focused, happy, and ready to learn.
"By September last year, more than 100 of our families were getting home breakfast provision,” they add. “This made a huge impact on their lives – a fantastic contribution in trying circumstances. I want to say a huge thank you for the support. Children in my school are more settled, focused, happy, and ready to learn.”
Feedback from teachers, parents and pupils
Teachers, parents and pupils have also been sharing their thanks for the support over the last year – check out these fantastic drawings from pupils!
At a Magic Breakfast partner school, one parent commented: “I just wanted to say a massive thank you for organising all of the food over the summer for us parents. I for one have really appreciated it. It really made the summer easier to manage with the children at home.”
Staff at another partner school explained: “Amazon deliveries are currently reaching more families than we can support with our breakfast club offer. The deliveries over lockdown were extremely well received by our families. Our school is located in a high deprivation area, support provided by Magic Breakfast was invaluable to ensuring children were able to access essentials.”
And staff at another partner school added: “For families struggling with low or no income from COVID-19, they really need this food [from the partnership] to survive and to also share breakfast time together.”
Continuing the fight against food insecurity
Looking ahead, Shafiya explains: "While there’s a lot of public attention on this issue right now, there's still a lot more work to be done raising awareness of the issues that cause hunger and the extent of the problem. People might think food insecurity does not or could not happen here – but it does.”
"Over the past year, we've established a process that works brilliantly, and we know there's a significantly higher need in the holidays for breakfast provision – so it’s fantastic that Amazon has agreed to extend their support over the summer holidays again this year."
“At Magic Breakfast, we’re also establishing a youth campaigner group which will take us in an exciting new direction. These are remarkable young people, some of whom have lived experience of food insecurity and hunger, so it will be fantastic in coming months to share stories from their perspective.”
If you'd like to find out more about the scale of food insecurity in the UK, please visit the Magic Breakfast website and follow the charity on social media, where you'll find case studies, stories, and the latest research.
You can also give a Magic Breakfast today with a donation – every 34p donated gives a child a nutritious breakfast and the support to succeed at school.
Find out more: How is Amazon supporting local charities during COVID-19?