Rashford petition calls on Government to end child food poverty

Manchester United and England star Marcus Rashford has launched an online petition challenging the Government to end child hunger.

Last week Rashford was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for his efforts in helping secure free meals for vulnerable children during the coronavirus pandemic.

Upon receiving the honour, the United forward said his recent efforts to support vulnerable children was “just the beginning” and now he is urging the Government to go further.

Rashford has called for support from ministers for three recommendations from their National Food Strategy as part of his campaign to #endchildfoodpoverty.

The petition, which has already attracted more than 5,000 signatures, calls for expanded access to Free School Meals, meals and activities during holidays, and a ramping up of the Healthy Start scheme.

Rashford said: “For too long this conversation has been delayed. Child food poverty in the UK is not a result of COVID-19. We must act with urgency to stabilise the households of our vulnerable children.

“In 2020, no child in the UK should be going to bed hungry, nor should they be sat in classrooms concerned about how their younger siblings are going to eat that day, or how they are going to access food come the holidays.

“The school holidays used to be a highlight of the year for children. Today, it is met with anxiety from those as young as seven years old.

“Many have said that education is the most effective means of combating poverty. I do not disagree with this statement, but education is only effective when children can engage in learning. Right now, a generation who have already been penalised during this pandemic with lack of access to educational resources are now back in school struggling to concentrate due to worry and the sound of their rumbling stomachs.

“Whatever your feeling, opinion, or judgement, food poverty is never the child’s fault. Let’s protect our young. Let’s wrap arms around each other and stand together to say that this is unacceptable, that we are united in protecting our children.”

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