Who votes against free school meals for children living in poverty?

The Tory party, that’s who.

The news today that, in a House of Commons vote, there was an overwhelming majority AGAINST providing free school meals for children who need them over the upcoming school holidays is absolutely abhorrent.

The irony of awarding footballer Marcus Rashford an MBE for his services to supporting the food needs of school children living in poverty, only to then refuse his call to extend provisions is hypocrisy at its finest.

The sheer audacity of MPs who are supposed to have the best interests of school children at heart voting no, including:

  • Minister for School Standard Nick Gibb
  • Children’s Minister Vicky Ford
  • Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock

Then again, when the leader of our country himself, that self serving out of touch prat Boris Johnson, votes against looking after youngsters who will be going hungry through no fault of their own, what can you expect?

Far from this descending into name calling, insulting and absolute incredulity at the unfeeling, uncaring and downright hateful government, I’m going to make this into something more positive. I’m going to suggest ways that you and I can help.

Donate to Fare Share

FareShare is a charity dedicated not only to helping those in need access food, they’re also working to reduce food waste. Double whammy of goodness. They take surplus food from across the industry and distribute it to food charities, breakfast clubs, homeless shelters and more. This isn’t about giving out the scraps that are left at the end of the day, but identifying good quality items which still have plenty of value in terms of nutrition but which retail stores can’t or won’t sell.

You can find out more about FareShare here.

If you’d like to support FareShare and the work they do, you can make a one off financial donation, or set up a monthly direct debit. I’ve set up a £10 per month donation this morning which was quick and easy, and will provide 40 meals to people who need them.

Trussell Trust

The Trussell Trust have a countrywide network of food banks supplying food parcels to those in need. They accept both financial and food donations. To donate food, find your local branch and check their opening hours online. They also have collection points in some local supermarkets.

Write to your local MP

Yes it may seem old fashioned, and yes it may seem futile, but there is still strength in letting your local MP know how you feel. They are supposed to represent their constituents, so they need feedback from those constituents to let them know they’re performing very badly. It may not make a difference, but I guarantee you’ll feel better for saying something.

Educate your peers around the issue

I’ve seen too many comments blaming parents who live on benefits, parents who can’t be bothered to get a job, parents who have kids they can’t afford, and parents who spend their money on cigarettes and big TVs instead of prioritising their children’s appetites. Of course there will always be people who abuse the system and don’t put the needs of their children first. But don’t tarnish everyone with the same brush. There are parents who work damn hard in poorly paid jobs and can’t make ends meet because the cost of living is too high in comparison to the minimum wage. There are parents who may have lost their jobs – with those numbers due to increase with the way the government is poorly handling the Covid pandemic. There are families in which one parent may have died, or left the household.

It doesn’t matter what the reason is – the end result is hungry children who don’t have the personal power or wherewithal to conjure up food for their empty tummies. None of it is the fault of children.

Remember also, as I posted about 2 years ago, that charities exist because of a government failure or unwillingness to provide financial support. You can try and place lame wherever you like, but ultimately a government has a responsibility to look after its citizens.

Thanks, as always, for reading. x