Free school meals program
The government’s free school meal program over the summer season was triggered by a petition from English striker Marcus Rashford which spread like wildfire on the internet.
Rashford’s call for free school meals for financially affected families during the pandemic laid pressure on Prime Minister Boris Johnson. The government then released a £120m budget for low to no income families across the UK.
Rashford is an English footballer who is also known for his humanitarian advocacies, especially when it comes to food distribution for the poor. In fact, he helped raise funds for one of the UK’s largest charity foundation, FareShare.
During the lockdown, the foundation has helped provide around three million meals for vulnerable individuals across the UK.
School meals for post-summer
The government announces another wave of the free school meals program in the UK. But, certain restrictions will be implemented. Families who have already availed the meal voucher program during the summer season will not be eligible to continue with the program.
In a response from the Ministers of Children, Vicky Ford, for those who are unfortunate to avail the next wave of meal vouchers, they can try seeking assistance from local grants through their local councils.
But MP Sharon Hodgson was quick to question Ford’s sentiments, claiming that the government has once shown its lack of compassion on the situation. She added, receiving a local assistance grant is like finding a needle on a haystack.
Supporters for the campaign for free school meals pointed out, during the pandemic, cases of malnutrition in children had already doubled from last year. If the restrictions are to be implemented, more vulnerable children will suffer from malnutrition. With jobs slow to return to normal, more families are still under financial instability.