Comic Relief aims to dish up one million meals this winter for families struggling to get by

11th December 2023

  • New research by the charity reveals over half of parents (52%) are worried about their ability to pay for food this winter [1] as the ongoing cost-of-living crisis continues to take its toll

  • 40% of parents are worried about feeding their children during the Christmas holidays [2]

  • Almost a third (32%) of parents think they will need to seek help with access to food over the coming winter months [3]

  • 20% of parents say they, or someone at home, have gone a whole day without eating in the last year because they couldn’t afford or access food [4]

  • 34% parents surveyed say shame and embarrassment would stop them seeking help with food and essentials

  • Comic Relief part of Jingle Jam this December, aiming to raise enough money to provide one million meals for families struggling this winter

  • Money raised is intended to be donated to FareShare to redistribute food to families across the UK

  • Find out how you can help and get involved at

New research by Comic Relief reveals that over half (52%) of UK parents are worried about their ability to pay for food over the winter months, rising to over two-thirds (71%) of parents from a single parent household [5].

The cost-of-living crisis continues to have a devastating impact on families across the country, as millions of parents worry about how they will continue to provide enough food for themselves and their children.

The survey, commissioned by Comic Relief last month [November 2023], found 40% of parents are worried about feeding their children during the Christmas holidays.

A third (32%) of parents said they will need to seek help with access to food over the coming winter months – yet worryingly a similar amount (37%) say they would not know where to go for help.

In the previous month, a quarter of parents (24%) surveyed said they or someone in their household had smaller meals than usual or skipped meals altogether because they couldn’t afford or get access to food. This rises to 37% of parents when asked if this had happened at some point in the past 12 months [6].

And in the past year, one fifth (20%) of parents said they or someone in their household did not eat for a whole day because they didn’t have enough food, while even more (26%) had been hungry but not eaten because they couldn’t access or afford food [7].

The survey, carried out by Censuswide with 2,013 parents of children aged 16 and under, has been released as part of Comic Relief’s drive to raise urgent funds to support more families and vulnerable people who are struggling to get by this winter.

Comic Relief is part of Jingle Jam – the world’s biggest gaming charity event – this December and is aiming to raise enough money to provide one million meals to support families struggling to afford food. The event sees gamers and streamers come together from across the world with a common goal to raise as much as possible for a range of good causes and have some fun along the way. With the money raised for Comic Relief, the charity intends to work with FareShare and local organisations to redistribute surplus food to help vulnerable people and families most in need of support.

For lots of parents, food banks have become an invaluable lifeline throughout the cost-of-living crisis. In the last year, 1 in 4 parents (25%) with a household income of £15,000 or less have visited a food bank.

The survey also found that 16% of parents are already sacrificing food so they can provide for their children this winter – increasing to almost a quarter (24%) of parents with a 16-year-old child.

While many parents are struggling, asking for help is not always easy. The top three things that would stop parents from seeking help with food and essential items this winter are the shame and embarrassment they would feel (34%), other people knowing that they can’t afford to support their family (28%), and their pride (26%).

With budgets increasingly squeezed, many parents are turning to forms of borrowing and debt – which can be easy to get into, yet difficult to get out of – to help manage their finances. The research found 1 in 5 (20%) parents say they are already relying on Buy Now Pay Later schemes for essential items and even more (27%) think they may have to resort to this over winter. Meanwhile, over a quarter (26%) of parents surveyed are already relying on credit cards for essential items and 28% say they may have to resort to this over winter.

Samir Patel, CEO of Comic Relief, said: “It is deeply concerning that over half of parents say they are worried about how they’re going to buy food for themselves and their children this winter, and that so many parents have gone whole days at a time without eating. The survey shows just how critical the situation is right now for millions across the country and paints a bleak picture of what the next few months will bring for those already desperately trying to stay afloat. We know the winter months will pile more financial pressure onto the most vulnerable, that’s why we are hoping to raise enough money this Christmas with Jingle Jam to provide a million more meals for those who are struggling, but we need your help. Please join us – your help could mean the world of difference."

You can help Comic Relief provide more meals this winter for people struggling – find out how you can get involved at



  • The research was conducted by Censuswide with 2,013 respondents with children aged 16 and under between 02/11/23-07/11/23

  • Censuswide abide by and employ members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles and are members of The British Polling Council



Comic Relief Media Team in new window) 020 7820 2500 (during office hours, which are 9.30am-5.30pm, Monday-Friday) Out of hours enquiries: 07984 510 473 in new window)


  • Comic Relief has launched a Winter Survival Appeal in partnership with the Evening Standard to help families who are struggling to get through the winter

  • The appeal will raise money to fund a range of organisations in London and across the UK. Comic Relief will support projects tackling everything from hunger to homelessness, whilst also funding baby banks, safe spaces and supportive initiatives for vulnerable groups

  • To find out more and donate visit in new window)


  1. ‘Very worried’ and ‘somewhat worried’ answers combined.

  2. ‘Very worried’ and ‘somewhat worried’ answers combined.

  3. ‘I think I definitely will’ and ‘I think I probably will’ responses combined.

  4. ‘Within the last month’, ‘Over 1 month ago up to 12 months ago’ combined.

  5. ‘Very worried’ and ‘somewhat worried’ answers combined.

  6. ‘Within the last month’, ‘Over 1 month ago up to 12 months ago’ combined.

  7. ‘Within the last month’, ‘Over 1 month ago up to 12 months ago’ combined.


Comic Relief uses the power of humour and popular culture to engage people to help others and raises money to support organisations working towards a just world free from poverty.

Our mission combines Comic and Relief. We believe that helping others can be easy and fun, even in the face of the challenges we face every day.

Everyone should be able to have a decent standard of living and to live life with dignity and respect – but right now, in the UK and around the world, poverty and injustice restrict too many of us. We know that a better world is possible. We provide funding to fantastic organisations who are closest to the communities who can make change happen. We support work that will help to alleviate poverty’s consequences, tackle related injustices, and address the link between climate change and poverty.

For information about Comic Relief and the work it carries out, please visit in new window) or follow @ComicRelief on social media for the latest content, news and information.

Comic Relief is the operating name of Charity Projects, registered charity in England & Wales (326568) and Scotland (SC039730).


Jingle Jam is the world’s biggest games charity event, taking place every year. Since its inception in 2011 the Jingle Jam has raised over £23 million, all for charitable projects across the world.

For the first time, this year will see over 1,000 fundraisers around the world host streaming events for their chosen charitable project. There will also be offline activities broadcast such as special events involving cooking, painting, poker, karaoke and more.

This year’s Jingle Jam launched on Friday 1 December and will draw to a close at midnight on Thursday 14 December. The two weeks of epic, heart-warming fundraising sees streamers across the world fundraising for charity. Also on offer during the gaming spectacle is the Jingle Jam Games Collection. The special collection of over 70 Steam games is worth over £1,100 but is available now to anyone who donates £35 or more here(opens in new window).