Britain campaigns to save free school meals

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Image by Cheshire East Council.

Manchester United star Marcus Rashford has certainly been hitting the headlines in recent weeks due to his tremendous campaigning efforts to prevent child hunger across the UK during the school holidays until Easter 2021. His attempts to combat this prevalent issue have not gone unnoticed, recently landing him a Pride of Britain Special Recognition award. Although 322 Conservative MPs voted against Rashford’s campaign in parliament, local councils and members of the community are joining forces to tackle child poverty. Pressure is mounting on Boris Johnson and the government to reverse the decision to deprive children across the country of not only free school meals, but also the right to achieve their full potential within education.

Image by Кирилл Венедиктов 

Welsh Education Minister Kirsty Williams recently announced plans to make £11 million available to ensure children are provided with free school meals over the school holidays up to and including Easter 2021. The Scottish Government have followed suit, pledging £10 million to fund free school meals over the school holidays. Read below to find out more information on the campaign, and to discover ways in which you can help those going hungry in the local community.

Marcus Rashford has been using Twitter as a platform to voice his opinion on this issue, as well as to share information about local councils and eateries that are providing food to vulnerable children. Councils that have vowed to provide free school meal vouchers include those in Birmingham, Manchester, Staffordshire, Chelsea and Hillington, the local authority for the Prime Minister’s constituency. Check Marcus Rashford’s Twitter to see updates in your area: click here.

Morrison’s is also being praised for combating hunger within communities, giving customers the option of adding pre-packed bags of shopping to their trolley whilst in-store, which are then donated to food banks. The ‘Pick Up Packs’ have proven popular with customers, with many collecting one from the front of the store, which once paid for is placed in a clearly marked area in store and retrieved by volunteers. Morrison’s branches tailor the packs to what is needed by local food banks at the time, meaning they have enough of everything available to those who need it most.

For anyone looking to do their bit locally, Bangor Cathedral Foodbank are always looking for financial and food donations in order to support people within the community. Food donations that are currently the most useful are:

  • Tinned meat meals

    Image by geograph

  • Tinned chicken meals
  • Tinned fruit (especially peaches)
  • Tinned potatoes
  • Tinned meat
  • Shower gel
  • Long life milk cartons
  • Orange juice mini-carton triple packs
  • Instant coffee (not decaf)

If you have any donations to make, The Cathedral Foodbank is running from Ty Deiniol next to Bangor Cathedral, and is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 2-3pm. Please make sure that all donations are unopened and still in date. Visit their website for more information: click here

But the question still stands: should feeding poverty-stricken children be the responsibility of the public and their councils, or the responsibility of the UK Government, who recently announced a possible £3,000 pay rise for MPs due to their work in the ‘wider public sector’? Get involved and do your bit by signing Marcus Rashford’s petition: click here.

Would you like to write for Seren’s Food and Drink section? Send an email to food@seren.bangor.ac.uk to get involved!

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Food & Drink Editor | 20-21

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