Children are arriving at a school so hungry they are searching the bins for food, its head teacher has said.
A cross-party group of MPs has called on the government to appoint a Minister for Hunger to deal with “food insecurity” especially among children.
Siobhan Collingwood, head teacher of the school in Morecambe, Lancashire, said one in 10 of its pupils came from families using foodbanks.
“Unfortunately I’ve got the faces behind the statistics,” she added.
The Environmental Audit Committee highlighted 2017 Unicef figures showing 19% of children under 15 in the UK live with adults who struggle to buy food.
The government said the number of children living in workless households is at a record low.
Ms Collingwood said there were currently 35 children at her school whose families are supported by foodbanks, adding: “It’s probably higher because they are the ones we know about.”
“When children are food deprived it alters their behaviour and they do become quite food obsessed, so we have some children who will be stealing fruit cores from the bins,” she added.
“We have children who have nothing in their lunch boxes and children who are just fixated upon food.”
The head teacher said it was “heartbreaking” and added that parents had been “arriving at school literally bursting into tears telling me they have no means of feeding their children”.
Ms Collingwood said she had noticed more problems since the introduction of Universal Credit.
“Families are coming in telling me they are routinely loaning food to each other, my day-to-day experience is telling me this is a growing problem.”
A Department of Work and Pensions spokeswoman said that, since 2010, one million people had been lifted out of absolute poverty – including 300,000 children.
She added: “We already provide support through free school meals and our Healthy Start Vouchers.”