Great Britain

Mayor funds campaign to help feed vulnerable children

TEES Valley Mayor Ben Houchen has backed a scheme by the charity arm of Middlesbrough Football Club to help deliver food parcels and feed vulnerable school children across the Tees Valley.

The MFC Foundation is providing 1,000 food parcels for distribution across the region and Mr Houchen has provided £15,000 worth of funding to increase the offerings in the parcels, providing more food to children in need.

Mr Houchen visited the Riverside Stadium yesterday (Monday) to help package up the food parcels and get them ready to be delivered to children across the region.

The MFC Foundation launched their new initiative last week with Boro striker Ashley Fletcher leading the campaign and he is hoping local businesses will provide support for the scheme.

Over £25,000 was raised in a matter of hours for the campaign, which has already been backed by the likes of Warburtons and Greggs.

He is following in the footsteps of his former Manchester United team-mate Marcus Rashford in urging people to show support in the battle against child poverty.

Mr Houchen said: “I’ve always said that we can only ever be as prosperous as the least fortunate in our communities. If we want our area to improve then we need to make it a place where everyone can succeed. That’s easier said than done and given the crisis we’re in it’s even more difficult.

"We’re in the middle of a pandemic. Businesses are struggling and we’re seeing people lose their jobs - especially those who are lowest paid. In a time of major crisis it’s obvious that we should support our most vulnerable children, which is why I’m using the powers I have at my disposal and I’m proud to be funding this amazing scheme with MFC Foundation.

"This project that will feed 1,000 of the most vulnerable children in our area and it is only part of a much wider movement, where we have seen people and businesses across our area step up and do their bit, despite being in difficult circumstances themselves.”

Mr Fletcher said: “The support we’ve had has been absolutely amazing.

“The Foundation were already committing to providing 1,000 meals, but this has gone way beyond that now, and it’s fantastic the way people have come together to help in this way.

“This isn’t a problem that will vanish overnight. We want to help families right across the region, and make a real difference, and the support we’ve had so far has been overwhelming.”

Helena Bowman, Head of MFC Foundation, said: “We have been overwhelmed by the response since we launched this appeal on Friday afternoon. We are really grateful for the donation from Ben and the Combined Authority and it was great to see Ben pitching in with the rest of us this morning.

“This is further proof, as if we needed it, about how many good people and thoughtful organisations we have in this area.

“These are tough times for everybody, but we draw strength from adversity in the knowledge that everyone is doing so much for each other.

“Here at the Foundation we have never stopped and we never will. As long as we are able to help, we will.”

Every penny received will go directly to provide food parcels for the region. Anyone wishing to support the campaign can donate money to the MFC Foundation appeal or text to donate.

Text FREESCHOOLMEALS 5 to 70460 to donate £5. Texts cost £5 plus one standard rate message.

Text FREESCHOOLMEALS 10 to 70460 to donate £10. Texts cost £10 plus one standard rate message.

Text FREESCHOOLMEALS 15 to 70460 to donate £15. Texts cost £15 plus one standard rate message.

Donations can also be made online at uk.virginmoneygiving.com/charity-web/charity/finalCharityHomepage.action?charityId=1009508

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