Children in Jewish schools eligible for free school meals will continue receiving additional vouchers from PaJeS.

A food support programme to help children in Jewish schools who are eligible for free meals is to continue over the next few monts.

Over the winter holiday more than 800 children received £15 of electronic food vouchers each week as a top-up to the free school meal contributions from government and local authorities.

PajeS, the Jewish Leadership Council’s schools network, now says the campaign will run through the school holidays until June.

Vouchers are being distributed to pupils at 38 Jewish state schools.

Rabbi David Meyer, PaJeS executive director, 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.”

Rachel Fink, headteacher of JFS, said: “Even before the closure of schools, our teachers and leadership team were aware that food poverty and insecurity are increasingly affecting families. Funders’ immediate response to support families during the first lockdown made a huge impact”

She said it was  “fantastic that this food support programme is now readily available across the community”.

According to a survey by the Institute of Jewish Policy Research on the impact of the pandemic on Jewish families last year, over seven per cent of households were struggling to pay bills, reducing meals at home or turning to food banks.

Donors include the Wohl Legacy and the Genesis Philanthropy Group.