Great Britain

Map shows where you can get free meals for kids at half-term after army of cafes joined Marcus Rashford’s campaign

A HANDY map has been created showing all the places you can get free meals for kids over half-term.

It comes after an army of cafes, pubs and restaurants joined Marcus Rashford's campaign to keep all vulnerable children well-fed in the holidays.

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Three Lions hero Rashford — who forced a Government U-turn over vouchers in the summer holidays and was recently awarded an MBE — started tweeting the details of generous firms and councils on Thursday night.

On Friday he listed dozens more and said: “Blown away by news of businesses stepping up to fill the voucher scheme deficit during the October half-term."

He also included a list of all the businesses supporting the initiative and a link to donate to Fare Share UK.

And Joe Freeman, behind the website allkidsmatter, pulled together all the spots to create a Google map showing people where they can go in their local areas.

Hundreds of businesses across Britain sailed to the rescue after Parliament voted down an option to give children free school meals over the break.

They pledged to offer free food over the half-term holiday to help struggling families.

Councils have also joined the call to arms, with Birmingham City Council saying said it will provide 61,000 children with vouchers and London’s Southwark Council spending up to £10,000.

LOCAL HEROES

Lesley Berry, 52, who runs Berry’s Tearoom in Brampton, Cumbria, backed Rashford and said: “I’ve been there, I was a single mum of three working two jobs to make ends meet. I used to dread the holidays, wondering how I’d be able to pay for everything. No one should feel like that.

“I’m in a position now where I can help people who were like me.

“Making a few sandwiches is no hardship but it’ll mean a lot for some families.”

And Will Shaw, 32, and wife Rachel, 26, run the Astoria bar and restaurant in Urmston, Manchester, and said: “We backed Marcus as soon as MPs rejected his idea."

Children are entitled to free meals from Year Three onward if their parents are on benefit packages including Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Child Tax Credit and Universal Credit, subject to earnings.

Rashford has raised £20million for FareShare and on Thursday he and mum Melanie helped out at one of its Manchester foodbanks.

He has previously told how the single mum relied on free meals and did 14-hour shifts to feed him and his four siblings growing up.

Last night the 22-year-old told Newsnight: "I am truly overwhelmed by the outpouring of support.

"You want to talk about 'celebrities' and 'superstars', look no further than my Twitter feed and that's exactly what you'll find."

"Growing up we didn't have a lot, but we always had the safety net of the community.

"That community was my family. When we stumbled, we were caught with open arms.

"Even at their lowest point, having felt the devastating effects of the pandemic, local businesses have wrapped arms around their communities today, catching vulnerable children as they fell."


THERE TO HELP

MINIKIN ART CAFE, MANCHESTER

CLAIRE Oliver, 44, who runs the cafe, said: “Marcus is an inspiration and I didn’t hesitate to join his campaign.

“And I’ve been overwhelmed by the support since word went round that we’d joined in.

“I’ve got £1,000 in donations to make hundreds of extra meals.

“I’d planned to offer jacket potatoes, snacks and crisps to kids but I’ll be able to extend it.

“I won’t ask any family for a voucher or make anyone feel uncomfortable. Food will just be there.”

PUDDING PANTRY, NOTTINGHAM

BOSS Anthony Quinn, 33, said: “Big business support for Marcus’s campaign is great but it’s marvellous to see so many small firms like ours joining in.

“It feels like a real community effort, which is exactly what will get us through the Covid crisis.”

Anthony, who runs two branches, added: “We specialise in snacks, pancakes, puddings and home-made cakes and have extra volunteers lined up to help give kids a treat over the holidays.”

JOE’S TAKEAWAY, SPALDING

CARLO Cifaldi, 23, runs Joe’s Takeaway in Spalding, Lincs, with dad Joe, 68. They are offering sausage and chips or cod and chips to kids in need.

Carlo, right, said: “We wanted to help straight away — it was a split-second decision.

“We get a lot of school kids in here and we don’t want any going hungry. Marcus is amazing, using his star power for good. We’re small fry but we’re in a position where we can help, so we wanted to give back to the people of Spalding.”

QOOT RESTAURANT GROUP, LONDON

THE restaurant group will provide free meals for kids in need in the half-term and Christmas holidays.

They will offer a meal, side and drink before 1pm on presentation of benefits documents.

Scot Turner, QOOT vice-president of operations, said: “We have been supporting Only a Pavement Away, to support London’s homeless and have now stepped up to pledge support for Marcus’s initiative, and urge our friends in the industry to join us in supporting those vulnerable children.”

McDonald’s offers 1 MILLION free meals for families as Marcus Rashford calls for school kids to be fed

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