Marcus Rashford: At least 100 organisations join Premier League star's free school meals push

·2 min read

At least 100 organisations have offered to supply free school meals during half term, inspired by footballer Marcus Rashford's campaign to end child food poverty.

On Thursday, Rashford encouraged anyone wishing to join him to tweet using the hashtag #endchildfoodpoverty and he would retweet with a locator, saying he was "blown away" by the support he'd received.

By 2pm on Friday, he had retweeted at least 80 such offers.

Those offering to help ranged from cafes, sandwich shops and pubs, to charities, catering companies and restaurant chains, such as the Big Smoke Brewery.

Some of those taking part are located in areas where they have to close due to new lockdown measures.

Councils in Liverpool, Greater Manchester, Wigan and Doncaster are among those across the country to have pledged support, along with those of several London boroughs including Lambeth, Redbridge and Hammersmith and Fulham.

One email, from a community organisation in Birkenhead, listed 17 local businesses that had promised to get involved.

Some of the messages sent to the Manchester United and England striker were overtly political, critical of Wednesday's vote by MPs to reject an extension of free school meals over the school holidays until Easter 2021.

It was rejected by 322 votes to 261, a majority of 61.

Ministers have so far rejected calls to extend the provision of free school meals in England over the half-term and Christmas breaks, despite coming under pressure.

Rashford's campaign, for which he recently received an MBE, calls for such meals to be expanded to all school holidays, and also given to anyone who gets Universal Credit or equivalent.

In June, he successfully persuaded ministers to U-turn and offer children free school meals over the summer holidays.

Other tweeters were full of praise for the footballer, praising his initiative in setting up the campaign earlier this year and maintaining it.

Some used their own hashtags, such as #bemorelikemarcus.