Restaurants rally behind Rashford campaign

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Restaurants and chefs Tom Kerridge Elizabeth Haigh McDonald's rally behind Marcus Rashford free school meals half term campaign

Related tags: Coronavirus, Restaurant, Chef

Restaurateurs and operators from across the hospitality sector have rallied behind footballer Marcus Rashford's campaign to provide free meals to vulnerable children in England over the October half term.

Chefs including Tom Kerridge and Elizabeth Haigh have pledged to cook hot meals and prepare packed lunches, in support of the #endchildfoodpoverty campaign.

On Friday (23 October), McDonald's announced it would offer a million free meals for UK families 'in greatest need' over the October half term.

The fast food giant will provide funding to food charity FareShare, which will be used for transport and logistics.

Rashford’s campaign, backed by a Labour motion to provide 1.4 million disadvantaged children in England with £15 a week in food vouchers during holidays until Easter 2021, was voted down in the House of Commons last week.

However, reaction to the defeat has led to an outpouring of donations from restaurateurs, despite their businesses suffering financial hardships of their own.

McDonald’s is by far the biggest name to make a pledge, with most donations coming from independent, single-site operators, as well as local councils and catering companies.

A map showing businesses, community organisations and councils who have announced they will help provide meals as part of the campaign is available here​.

Responding to the support from businesss, Rashford wrote on Twitter: “Blown away by news of local businesses stepping up to fill the voucher scheme deficit during the October half term. Selflessness, kindness, togetherness, this is the England I know. Add #ENDCHILDFOODPOVERTY to your tweets so I can track them. I will share as many as I can.”

A petition​ launched by Rashford that calls for an end to child food poverty has, at the time of writing, received more than 885,000 signatures.

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