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Marcus Rashford shares businesses handing out school meals

File photo dated 26-12-2019 of Manchester United's Marcus Rashford.
Marcus Rashford has highlighted businesses who have offered free meals to children. (PA)

Footballer Marcus Rashford has highlighted a string of businesses across the country who are handing out free school meals during the October half term after MPs voted against extending the scheme during the holiday.

Rashford, who is spearheading a campaign to end child food poverty, said he was “blown away” by news of businesses stepping up to fill the voucher scheme during half-term, saying: “This is the England I know”.

The England star shared posts from businesses across the UK who have announced they will provide free meals for those who need them, and urged people to add the hashtag #endchildfoodpoverty to their tweets so he could promote them.

They include pubs, cafes, restaurants and tapas bars, as well as sandwich bars and coffee shops and also local councils, with offers ranging from hot meals to packed lunches, food parcels and sandwiches and treats.

Just a few highlighted by Rashford include: Baker’s Coffee Shop and Restaurant in Bolton, Taste Sandwich Bar in Liverpool, Pabna Restaurant in Leek, Staffordshire, Whitley Bait Sandwich and Coffee Bar in Whitley Bay, Astoria Bar and Restaurant in Urmston, Manchester and Bowring Park Cafe in Shropshire.

Many of the establishments had shared their disappointment at the government’s decision through social media posts, and urged parents or carers who would struggle without the free school meal scheme to get in touch.

They also reminded people that any requests would be handled with discretion and they could get in touch privately.

Ruhel Pabna, media spokesman for Pabna Restaurant in Leek, said: “At Pabna we are a family restaurant run by a family of father and four sons. When we employ our staff we treat them like our own family, therefore the customers become our family too.

“We believe we are fortunate in this pandemic, and have been brought up in a manner where we should help others feel privileged if they already aren’t.

“We want to make sure nobody sleeps sad or hungry without food, therefore we feel it’s important to make sure everyone has a hot dinner at night.

“Marcus Rashford highlighting the issues shows we are not individuals in this world, we are a family as one. And in times like this we must stick as one.”

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