Foodservice supplier, Brakes, has announced its decision to join the Child Food Poverty Task Force, which was formed by Marcus Rashford earlier this month.
Brakes will join Rashford and some of Britain's leading retailers and food manufacturers to endorse policy recommendations from the government's National Food Strategy, with the objective of seeing sufficient funds allocated to implementing them and identifying a long-term solution to child food poverty in the UK.
Hugo Mahoney, Brakes' chief executive, said: "Child food poverty is a societal problem that Brakes passionately believes we need to address; so much so, that in 2015 we started our own charity, Meals & More, to help fund, educate and provide practical support to address the complex issues of child holiday hunger.
"The Child Food Poverty Task Force has an incredibly important role to play in today's very difficult climate, with many families struggling to put food on the table. We applaud the amazing job Marcus has done in shining a light on this important issue and are ready to play our part in supporting the aims of the task force."
Rashford commented: "This is an inclusive taskforce and I'm amazed by the momentum it's gathering, with Brakes as our newest member. There is such power in us all standing together and I'm very proud that I stand with influential voices and platforms who are committed to changing the lives of millions of children in the UK. I'm confident Brakes will be able to offer new and valuable insight. No one wants to see a child going hungry and the time for change is now."
Brakes' Meals & More charity has already provided around 500,000 meals for the nation's most vulnerable children since it started in 2015. It supports food provision at more than 150 clubs a year, which give more than 10,000 children the opportunity to take part in activities, enjoy healthy food and avoid the social isolation which often results from poverty.
Mahoney added: "As a wholesale supplier to many thousands of restaurants, pubs and catering venues, we understand the important role that food plays at the heart of communities. We look forward to combining forces with other members of the Task Force, and many of our customers, to create a movement to end child food poverty."
In signing up to the Child Food Poverty Task Force, Brakes has committed to endorsing three policy recommendations: the expansion of free school meals to every child from a household on Universal Credit or equivalent, reaching an additional 1.5 million seven- to 16-year-olds; expansion of holiday provision (food and activities) to support all children on free school meals, reaching an additional 1.1 million children; and increasing the value of the Healthy Start vouchers to £4.25 per week (from £3.10) and expanding into all those on Universal Credit or equivalent, reaching an additional 290,000 pregnant women and children under the age of four.