Meals & More, the charity created by Brakes to combat holiday hunger, is calling on the government and the food industry to go further to help hungry children this Christmas.
The government's recent announcement of a support package to help children and families over the winter period, as well as the extension of the Holiday Activity & Food Programme and Healthy Start Voucher improvement, has been welcomed by Meals & More. However with more than 4.2 million children living in poverty in the UK, the charity is concerned that the measures do not go far enough.
As part of its fifth annual Christmas campaign to end holiday hunger, Meals & More is calling on the government to extend the support to all families on Universal Credit. The charity is also asking the food industry, from manufacturers to restaurateurs, to come together to support and donate to its mission, which helps feed thousands of children in the need over the holiday period.
The past year has seen holiday hunger become one of the most talked about aspects of child food poverty, helped by the launch of the Child Food Poverty Task Force, formed by footballer Marcus Rashford. The taskforce, which Brakes joined in October, has called for the implementation of three policy recommendations from the government's National Food Strategy – a unifying step to identifying a long-term solution to child food poverty in the UK.
Peter McGrath, operations director at Meals & More, said: "Since Marcus started campaigning, there has been an increase in understanding of child food poverty and the needs of children and families during holiday periods.
"We have been asked by the clubs we support if there is additional funding available as the ramifications of the pandemic begin to be felt across the country, so to this end we are launching a Christmas campaign. People can donate through the Virgin Money page.
"There is a danger that people think that this announcement from the government solves the problem – it doesn't. Of course it's a step in the right direction, but there will still be many, many parents dreading the expense of Christmas and especially this year when so many are suffering financially because of Covid.
"The momentum that we have this year is such that we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to do something really special for our most vulnerable children. When we started this journey five years ago, our goal was to create a movement to end holiday hunger and we've made some amazing progress over the years, and that's been catapulted to a whole new level with the ‘Rashford effect'."
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