Lambeth council, local businesses, community groups, and charities and have stepped in to ensure that local children will not go hungry over half term, which begins on Monday (26 October).
Government MPs voted down a proposal to extend free school meals through the holiday only weeks after footballer Marcus Rashford received an MBE for campaigning for that policy.
In Brixton, the Duke of Edinburgh pub on Ferndale Road iand its permanent kitchen resident, South London caterers White Men Can’t Jerk, will prepare packed meals that will be distributed by Brixton Soup Kitchen.
Stevie Mulgrave, operations manager for the Solitaire Group, owner of the Duke, said: “2020 has been such a tough year for everyone. I can’t even start to imagine the struggle that families who don’t have enough money to put food on the table for their children must go through in this testing time.
“The government have let them down. We hope this gesture, as small as it may be, will help some of those families in our Brixton community.
“We are very proud of all of the team at the Duke and the guys from White Men Can’t Jerk in our kitchen for coming together to make this happen.
“We can only hope the campaign headed by the FareShare charity backed by Marcus Rashford can make actual change for future generations.”
Lambeth council leader Jack Hopkins announced yesterday (23 October) that the council will provide free school meals to all school children in the borough who need them during the school holiday.
“At a time when there is deep concern about the continued economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, many of us have been deeply inspired by the national campaign to end child food poverty led by the footballer Marcus Rashford MBE,” he said.
“We will ensure every child who needs it gets free school meals for half term next week. Our schools provide a vital safety net for many struggling families, but we know that gaps remain in that safety net in particular during school holidays.”
Vouchers will be distributed to more than 10,000 children by the council via schools at a cost of around £165,000.
The programme builds on the council’s existing work to provide summer programmes that ensure children have access to healthy food and activities during the holidays.
The council’s website has a section with information for anyone in Lambeth who needs help and support because of the pandemic.
Hopkins encouraged anyone who can afford it to join him in giving what they can to the Lambeth Foodbank Fund.
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