A Perth shopping centre has revealed tackling child holiday hunger was the main reason for running dishing out free fruit.
St John’s Shopping Centre gave out 2,072 pieces of fruit by the end of the campaign, which finished when the schools reopened this week.
Derek Martin, marketing manager at the centre, said: “The campaign was hugely successful, to the point where we could not keep up with the demand.
“When you consider that one in four children in Perth city centre are in poverty, there is a potential that 554 of these children were able to have a free, healthy snack whenever they passed through St John’s Shopping Centre.”
The centre did not initially promote the campaign as a means of tackling holiday hunger due to concerns that it would make people feel uncomfortable accepting the fruit.
It is estimated that just over 25% of children in Perth City Centre alone are in poverty after housing costs.
Peter Barrett, the Liberal Democrat councillor for Perth City Centre said: “I think the fruit station was a great initiative.
“The St John’s Centre staff are to be praised for providing children with a healthy fresh fruit snack during the summer holidays.
“Putting the Fruit Station next to the Oor Wullie sculpture where children were naturally drawn and could then help themselves to a piece of fruit was a clever means of encouraging kids to eat an apple pear or banana.”
Also this summer, the charity FareShare Tayside and Fife stepped in to provide more than 13,000 meals for children.
They dished out around 1,300 meals every week of the summer holidays, including at Letham Summer Lunch Club in Perth.
Last month, Perth and Kinross Council provided £76,000 for school pupils’ holiday meals. Free meals were provided for eligible children, following a successful initiative last year when meals were provided at Letham Primary School, Alyth Community Wing and the City of Perth Early Childhood Centre.
It is hoped the free fruit will make a return to the shopping centre in the near future.
Mr Martin said: “Based on the overwhelming success we are already looking on ways to implement this campaign again in the future.”