(Reuters) – Manchester United said on Monday that they will be provide 5,000 free school meals during the October half-term holidays to help forward Marcus Rashford’s campaign to end child food poverty in the United Kingdom.
Rashford has campaigned for the government to provide food vouchers during school holidays to children who normally receive free meals during term time if their parents receive welfare support.
Dozens of local organisations all over the country came forward last week to supply free school meals in response to the 22-year-old’s plea on social media.
Now, working together with the charity FareShare, meals will be prepared and packaged individually at Old Trafford by club staff before being shipped to local Manchester United Foundation partner schools.
Six local schools will receive the meals while others will be delivered to local charities.
“Many of Manchester’s children are going hungry and they are particularly vulnerable during school holidays when they cannot benefit from the meal voucher programme,” Collette Roche, Chief Operating Officer at United said.
“In parallel with the brilliant work being done individually by Marcus Rashford, we’re proud that the club continues to step in alongside FareShare, the Foundation and their partner schools to help fill this void.”
Rashford forced a government U-turn in July when he won his battle to ensure free school meals during the summer holidays. He then proposed extending the campaign for families receiving financial assistance from the government.
Parliament on Wednesday rejected a Labour Party motion to extend free school meals until Easter 2021 from the cut-off before the half-term and winter holidays, prompting the England international to launch his campaign on social media.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday he fully accepted that children going hungry during school holidays was a problem during the COVID-19 pandemic but said he had not spoken to Marcus Rashford over his plans to tackle it.
Reporting by Peter Hall; Editing by Christian Radnedge