Following the news that Labour’s bid to get the free school meals scheme extended was defeated in parliament this week, a number of generous businesses across the country have pulled together – stepping in to provide the free school meals over half term that the Tories wouldn’t.
Taking to Twitter following the decision to call on people to help, Marcus Rashford – the footballer at the forefront of the campaign – said: “Time we worked together”, alongside a call-out to put aside the politics and pledging that “as long as they don’t have a voice, they will have mine”.
Since the tweet, a number of local and independent businesses across the country have stepped up to offer free meals to those less fortunate – with Rashford sharing to his Twitter the businesses that have reached out so far. The Manchester United Forward, Rashford, said he’s been “blown away by news of local businesses stepping up to fill the voucher scheme deficit during the October half term”.
Some of the Yorkshire restaurants that have stepped up to help out this half term are Portifino Ristorante, Harrogate, who say “Portofino Ristorante Harrogate is offering free essentials to any family living in the Harrogate are requiring help during the next week’s school holidays. Pearsons Bar in Hull have put forward themselves as well with an emotional “We don’t want any child in Hull to go to bed hungry.”
Rashford says the ‘real superstars’ are those found in the UK’s cities, towns and villages that ‘working tirelessly to support our most vulnerable across the UK.’ And we couldn’t agree more, with some real unsung heroes going above and beyond for the vulnerable, some of which are already struggling as a result of the huge hit hospitality has taken this year.
Rashford goes on to talk about charity FareShare saying, “As FareShare and other food-related charities approach one of the toughest Winters on record, with demand higher than ever before, it is important that I stay connected and lend my support wherever it is needed.
“When we stumble, there will always be a community to wrap their arms around us and pick us back up. For many of us, that is FareShare or the local food bank.
“Food banks who are staffed with selfless volunteers, dedicating their lives to protecting those most vulnerable, those who, in many cases, have fallen into unforeseen circumstances due to illness, personal loss and unemployment.
“It should be noted that a lot of these volunteers have themselves suffered unemployment as a result of the pandemic, yet they still strive to help others less fortunate. That to me is the greatest example of what we can do, and the difference we can make, when we just work together.”
To find out more about charity FareShare or offer support, head to their website here.